Jaffee’s Bill Makes “Thurgood Marshall Day” Permanent

May 13, 2009

Today, the New York State Assembly unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern) designating May 17th “Thurgood Marshall Day” in New York State.

The Honorable Thurgood Marshall is one of the most renowned figures in the history of the civil rights movement in America and the first African American United State Supreme Court Justice, serving for 24 years between 1967 and 1991. He is known by most Americans for his stellar representation of the NAACP before the Supreme Court in the matter of Brown vs. the Board of Education, which led the Supreme Court to declare the segregation of public schools illegal in the United States.

In 1943, Thurgood Marshall stood with a group of African American families and successfully argued for the desegregation of the Main School, now called Hillburn School, in Hillburn, New York.

“Thurgood Marshall was one of this country's premier champions of civil rights,” said Assemblywoman Jaffee. “He championed the most important premises of democratic government – freedom, equality, and justice for all and successfully utilized the courthouse to advocate for and champion the cause of equal treatment under the law. It is truly fitting that we proclaim May 17 of this year and every year thereafter Thurgood Marshall Day in the State of New York.”

Assemblywoman Jaffee was joined in Albany by members of the Rockland County community including: Rockland County Legislator Bill Darden, Spring Valley Mayor George Darden, Reverend Walter Brightman from St. Paul’s Church in Spring Valley, Spring Valley Kiwanis President Lenora McCabe, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Psi Omega Chapter member Virginia Beasley, and Spring Valley Committee Chairperson Pat Caldwell. She was also joined by Spring Valley NAACP President Willie Trotman and members Merle George, Jesse Jones, and Bill Thorne, as well as Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity President Les St. Louis and Secretary, Dr. Willie Bryant.