B’nai Zion Civil Rights Award Presented to Justice Thurgood Marshall
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B’nai Zion Civil Rights Award Presented to Justice Thurgood Marshall

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The 1968 B’nai Zion Bill of Rights Gold Medal Award was presented in absentia tonight to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in recognition of his “inspiring leadership in the furtherance of the letter and spirit of the Bill of Rights.” The presentation was made by Rep. Emanuel Celler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, at the annual bill of rights conference of the American Zionist fraternal order. Justice Marshall could not be present owing to the national day of mourning for the Rev, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rep. Celler denounced “white backlash” as “the major tragedy of our cities” and accused major groups, including those on the fields of religion, labor and the professions of remaining silent in the struggle for the passage of the Open Housing bill in Congress. Mr. Celler paid tribute to Justice Marshall, the first Negro to be named to the Supreme Court, as “the rational man” who “cannot be measured as we measure other men for the triumphs that were his personally flowed from his committed mind.”

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