Statement on the confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson

Press Release
April 7, 2022

Statement on the confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center celebrates Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who was today confirmed as the first Black woman to sit on our nation’s highest court.

The significance of this moment cannot be understated.

It has been less than 60 years since Thurgood Marshall, the son of formerly enslaved people, became the first Black person appointed to the United States Supreme Court. Now, 233 years after the United States Supreme Court was founded, a Black woman sits on its bench.

They say justice is blind, but we know it is not. Justice at the highest level in our country is interpreted by nine individuals, people whose backgrounds and personal experiences influence their interpretation of justice. For the first time in our nation’s history, the experience of a Black woman in America will be considered when interpreting a Constitution that has historically denied her her own rights.

This historic moment is cause for celebration. For the first time, our nation’s highest body of justice is starting to better reflect the people it serves.

But this is also a moment of reflection. In a nation founded on principles of equality, we are woefully behind in presenting equal opportunity for all races, all genders. There are still voices not heard in our nation’s justice system; still experiences justice remains blind to that impacts a fair and impartial justice system. We hope, and we believe, Justice Jackson’s appointment can help balance the scales of justice.

While we know the equitable nation we seek is a work in progress, we applaud President Joe Biden for his commitment to ensuring our government for the people is a government of the people.

And we celebrate Justice Jackson. Today millions of young people look to her and see proof that what was once impossible, even unthinkable, is now a reality. And some day, a person will stand on her shoulders to break the next barrier. Justice Jackson lifts as she rises, and our nation is closer to justice for all because of it.

Woodrow Keown, Jr.

President & COO
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center


About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery,

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