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Thurgood Marshall

HLP-black-history-month

Business and Social Justice

In business we sometimes shy away from topics that we perceive as not being directly related to “business”. But with this being Black History Month, I wanted to take the time to reflect on someone that I think is one of the greatest influencers, with respect to

our current U.S. Justice system. His name is Thurgood Marshall, member of the United States Supreme Court from 1967 – 1991. I am writing this in the vein that other businesses, at large, will take the time to ask themselves (1) should we continue honoring Black History Month, and (2) what can we (collectively) do to recognize this month as business people?

Let me renege on one point. Contributions by great Americans have affected business in the past, and will continue into the future. The most recognizable contribution of Thurgood Marshall was his ability to sway the courts to provide equal opportunities for education (Brown v Board of Education Topeka) for everyone. When asked by Justice Felix Frankfurter during the argument what he meant by “equal,” Mr. Marshall replied, “Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time, and in the same place.”

Think about it, this is a hallmark (although unwritten) of business in most

of the United States. As a college graduate, I had the strength of education, coupled with the drive of owning my own business, to operate my own small company. This opportunity did not exist for many of my ancestors. And possibly, without the drive and determination of Thurgood Marshall, I would not have had the chance to fulfill some of my dreams.

So when we ask ourselves about honoring Black History Month? This article is my way of reminding myself that there were great Americans who sacrificed and helped pave the way for me personally.

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