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Black Facts for June 25th

1933 - James Meredith

James Meredith is a 20th century eminent American Civil Rights Movement figure. He was involved in political advisory committee and also wrote about the social inequality issues. Besides, he was a war veteran and was the first black to be admitted in an all-white university.

James Howard Meredith was born on June 25, 1933 in Kosciusko, Mississippi to Moses Meredith and Roxie. He descended from a cultural diverse family having British Canadian, Choctaw, Scots and African-American heritage. Mississippi at that time was under Jim Crows tyrant rule and therefore all the schools in his territory were segregated as “white” and “colored”. Meredith went to a segregated local high school and after graduation he joined United States Air Force. He served in the air force for nine years. Upon his return, he went on to attend Jackson State University and earned good grades. Afterwards, he applied to the state-funded University of Mississippi which only accepted white students. However, he insisted on having equal civil rights.

His application was rejected twice but he didn’t give up. In his application, Meredith wrote he needed admission for his country, race, family, and himself and that he intend to pursue the degree all the way. Leader of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Medgar Evers assisted James Meredith on the matter. He filed a lawsuit against the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi with the support from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The lawsuit claimed the cause of rejection was not the unsatisfactory grades because he had a highly successful academic record, but the reason was solely based on his colour. After a dozens of hearings, the case finally went to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court ruled in his favor, giving him the right to apply to any segregated university and be admitted.

However, Meredith’s struggle for justice was not over yet. Democratic Governor of Mississippi, Ross Barnett felt being cheated of his right to discriminate and

1954 - Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor , in full Sonia Maria Sotomayor (born June 25, 1954, Bronx, New York, U.S.), associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 2009. She was the first Hispanic and the third woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

The daughter of parents who moved to New York City from Puerto Rico, Sotomayor was raised in a housing project in the Bronx. After the death of her father, her mother worked long hours as a nurse to support the family. Sotomayor credits the episodes of the television crime show Perry Mason (1957–66) that she watched as a child with influencing her decision to become a lawyer. She graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University (B.A., 1976) before attending Yale Law School, where she worked as an editor of the Yale Law Journal. She graduated in 1979 and worked for five years as an assistant district attorney in New York county before pursuing private practice in a New York firm, where she worked on intellectual property and copyright cases.

In 1992 Pres. George H.W. Bush appointed Sotomayor a federal judge in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. As a federal judge, Sotomayor received national attention in 1995 when she ruled in favour of Major League Baseball players, then on strike, who were suing because of changes to the free agent system and salary arbitration rules. Sotomayor issued an injunction against the team owners, effectively bringing the eight-month strike to an end.

When Pres. Bill Clinton nominated Sotomayor to be a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1997, Republican senators delayed her appointment for more than a year because of their concerns that the position might lead to a Supreme Court nomination. After her appointment to the court in 1998, Sotomayor was known for her candid, direct speaking style and for her carefully reasoned decisions. Some of her decisions provoked controversy. In 2001 she ruled in favour of a woman with dyslexia who wanted more accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities

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