“My great-grandmother was a slave and I am the second black Supreme Court Justice in Missouri– I am living history”, said Judge George Draper as he addressed the fifth graders at Jackson Park’s Black History program on the evening of Wednesday, February 20.
Judge Draper and Judge Ronnie White, the first African-American to serve on the Missouri Supreme Court, were honored guests at the program. Both addressed the packed gymnasium after the student program and shared their personal reflections on the progress of civil rights. Referencing the student play, Judge White remarked, “I would not be where I am today if it were not for Thurgood Marshall.”
Judge Draper went on to say there was still more work to do. There has not yet been a black female Supreme Court justice in Missouri or at the federal level and he suggested one of JP’s young ladies might fill that role.
The student program included a medley of songs by the kindergarten students and a short musical, “Let Me Fly," by the fifth graders.
There was thunderous applause for the students and a standing ovation for Judge White and Judge Draper. But, the students on stage and in the audience erupted in cheers when Principal Elliott Shostak announced that school was closed on Thursday.