New York State Bar Association President T. Andrew Brown Issues Statement on Juneteenth
Juneteenth provides an opportunity for us to wrestle with a difficult moment in our collective history and to celebrate its end. Though most Americans know something about the era of slavery, few are aware of the significance of this day.
It was on this day in 1865 that Union soldiers brought the news to enslaved Black individuals in Galveston, Texas that they were, in fact, free – two months after the Confederacy had surrendered and more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
If we ignore history, we do so at our peril and are doomed to repeat it. The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) is marking this day by uplifting and commemorating the legacies of Black jurists and lawyers who made significant contributions to the legal community and society as a whole, including:
Thurgood Marshall, first African American justice of the Supreme Court;
Constance Baker Motley, first female New York State Senator and first African American woman appointed to the federal judiciary;
Charlotte Ray, the first African American female to earn a law degree in the U.S.;
George Bundy Smith, first African American judge of the New York State Court of Appeals;
Archibald Murray, first African American president of the NYSBA;
Dennis Archer, first African American president of the American Bar Association;
Paulette Brown, first African American female president of the American Bar Association.
Their stories of perseverance and courage inspire us all to be champions of diversity and ensure a more fair, equitable and inclusive world.
About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, the Association has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.
Contact: Brandon Vogel