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Thurgood Marshall Speaks in Harlem

Nov. 25, 1962 - Federal Judge Thurgood Marshall (pictured) stepped from the bench to the pulpit today and urged his Harlem neighbors to “make Harlem the kind of place that people will want to come to.” Speaking at St. Philip’s Protestant Episcopal Church, Judge Marshall stressed the responsibility that goes along with living in New York, “a city of opportunity in a state of opportunity.” In his appeal to his fellow worshipers, Judge Marshall discussed the problems of Harlem, including inadequate job opportunities, racially segregated schools, and a lack of civic and personal pride. “We can complain, we should complain, and we shall continue to complain,” he said. “But we must feel the responsibility first ourselves. And before we complain about the lack of job opportunities, we should see how many doors we have knocked on and whether it really is race or lack of education that spoiled our chances.” Judge Marshall decried the presence of racially segregated schools in New York City, but said: “Let’s make the best of it. Let’s make sure that our children will be ready for an integrated school.”


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