Legal Law

Unique: VP Kamala Harris Provides Bust Of Justice Thurgood Marshall To Her Workplace

(Photo by CAROLINE BREHMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Kamala Harris has been making history ever since she was sworn in as the first woman to serve as vice president of the United States. Back in January, she moved into her office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, and as the first woman of color to call the office her own, she’s been trying to leave her personal mark there through the use of meaningful cultural artifacts. For example, for the past few months, she’s had a bust of Frederick Douglass there, on loan from her undergraduate alma mater, Howard University.

Today, the bust of another important historical figure will enter the VP’s office.

Thurgood Marshall, an influential civil rights leader who became the first Black Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history, is one of the vice president’s personal heroes. He was a 1933 graduate of Howard University School of Law, and was appointed to the high court by President Lyndon Johnson, where he served from 1967 to 1991. It is fitting that Justice Marshall’s bust that be looking over Vice President Harris’s shoulder as she speaks about all manner of issues that affect Americans today, from voting rights to the equitable distribution of vaccines and other important social justice initiatives. Take a look at the bust, below:

(Photo by Lawrence Jackson / The White House)

Howard University is loaning the Office of the Vice President the bust of Justice Marshall, which is now on display in the Vice President’s Ceremonial Office. The bust was created by Dr. Randolph Craig, a Black artist who worked in the University of Maryland Art Department. According to a White House official, Justice Marshall attended the unveiling of the bust dedicated in his honor on January 23, 1991.

Earlier this year, Vice President Harris was sworn in on two bibles at her inauguration, and one of them belonged to Justice Marshall. This past summer, she acknowledged Justice Marshall, among others, as her motivation for becoming a lawyer in comments given before the National Bar Association:

I wanted to help people. I wanted to do that. And that was one of the reasons — including Thurgood Marshall and Charles Hamilton Houston and Constance Baker Motley — that I wanted to be a lawyer. I wanted to help people and, in particular, to help remove the barriers that stood in their way — to help people everywhere to defend themselves; to define themselves, as opposed to being defined by others; and to determine their own future. And I know this is something we all share, and it’s what — it’s what still drives us all today.

The Marshall bust looks magnificent in Vice President Harris’s office. May she continue to help people and do good deeds in her role as second in command.


Staci ZaretskyStaci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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