Volume 110
Issue
6
Date
2022

Foreword: Democracy in Transition

by Sherrilyn Ifill

Thurgood Marshall, the U.S. Supreme Court Justice whose work as a civil rights lawyer transformed twentieth-century American democracy, famously said, in a riff on a quote often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, “It’s a democracy, if we can keep it.” But Marshall went beyond Franklin’s cryptic warning about the fragility of our republic. In a 1978 speech at Howard University School of Law, Marshallnever at a loss for words or advicedescribed the critical element to protecting democ-racy: “[I]n order to keep it,” he explained, “you can’t stand still. You must move, and if you don’t move, they will run over you.” Footnote #1 content: The Honorable Thurgood Marshall, Assoc. Just., Sup. Ct. of the U.S., Speech at Howard University School of Law (Nov. 18, 1978) (transcript available at http://thurgoodmarshall.com/the- equality-speech/ [https://perma.cc/CB4H-J8TN]). 

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