THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN DISCUSSION WITH STUDENTS ON BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION Martin Luther King Middle School Beltsville, Maryland
11:35 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Do you know why we're here? Why are we here, somebody?
Q To talk about the Brown versus Board of Education decision and how it affects us today.
THE PRESIDENT: That's right, we are. What was the ruling in Brown versus Board of Education? What did the Supreme Court say?
Q That separate but equal was unjust and unconstitutional.
THE PRESIDENT: And what were the facts in the case? What gave rise to the case? What was the case about?
Q Unsegregating schools in the South.
THE PRESIDENT: In the South and in Topeka, Kansas. It was about a little schoolgirl named Linda Brown whose parents thought she should not be sent to a segregated school.
The United States Supreme Court made that decision in 1954, 40 years ago today. Before that, the Supreme Court had ruled that separate but equal was constitutional, right? And when the Supreme Court makes a ruling like that, it's the law of the land until they change their minds.
During the Civil War, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves in 1863 in the White House, on the same floor that I sleep every night, in what is now the Lincoln Bedroom -- the room where your father spent the night last night, right? Secretary Riley's 93-year-old father spent the night last night in the room where President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves.
SECRETARY RILEY: He said he heard Lincoln all night long. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Then, after the Civil War was over, the 14th Amendment to our Constitution was adopted, which declared that everybody had to be equal under the law. But there was still a lot of racial prejudice in the country and a lot of discrimination. And a few years after that, the Supreme Court decided a case called Plessy v. Ferguson -- have you studied that? And the problem with Plessy v. Ferguson was that blacks and whites had to sit in a different place on the train, and the 14th Amendment said that nobody could be discriminated against under the law. And, by law, they were required to sit in a different place on the train.
So what did the Supreme Court say in Plessy v. Ferguson? Yes?
Q That trains or whatever were equal, and they could be separate.
THE PRESIDENT: That's right. If the facilities were equal, they could be separate without violating the 14th Amendment, right? So the Brown decision overruled that.
Now, why did they overrule that? What was the argument? Why was separate but equal? What's the matter with that?
Q Well, people were still being --
THE PRESIDENT: So they --
THE PRESIDENT: One argument was that even though they were supposed to be separate but equal, they weren't really. Right? Okay, what else? What else is wrong with separate but equal?
Q That if they are separated, they wouldn't be equal.
THE PRESIDENT: That's the heart of it. Because they were separated, right, they wouldn't be equal. That's very important. The argument was that if they were separated, the act of separating people by race under the law itself was a message of inequality.
Do you believe that? Do you believe that? Nearly everybody believes that now, right?
You look around this room today. This is America -- people from all different racial and ethnic groups. We have one county in America -- maybe more than one, but at least one, Los Angeles County, that now has people from 150 different racial and ethnic groups. So every -- and someday, if the population trends continue, the number of nonwhites in America will be greater than the number of whites. So that everybody will be ultimately protected by a requirement that no one can be discriminated against by the law based on their race.
But the essence of Brown was two things, and you guys got them -- one is, well, they're not really always equal, these separate facilities. The other is the act of separating people by their race under the law is itself an act of inequality.
Now, since then, we've had all kinds of problems and challenges with the aftermath of the Brown decision. You know, what do you do when people's living patterns are separate? That's how busing got into the whole issue of how to integrate the schools. And what do you do when people in one place are a lot poorer than people in another place? And how do you deal with the practical problem -- there are all kinds of practical problems. Many of them have been solved more satisfactorily in places like in magnet schools, where people come as a matter of choice and they come together and you try to get different kinds of people, both different races and different incomes.
So I wouldn't -- by no means have all the problems that were dealt with in the Brown decision, the problems of racial inequality and income inequality, and the history of discrimination -- those problems have not all been overcome. And today we have some new problems, at least problems that are more severe. There's more violence. The families and communities are under greater stress. There are a lot of problems that you face that people our age 40 years ago didn't face. We know that.
But the number one lesson I want to leave with you is that this is a very much better country because of that Brown decision and it is a very different country because of the Brown decision. And the three people who are here with me today each have a different incite on that.
But I want you to think about how different the country might have been. We're in the basketball playoffs now, so I'm thinking about this is the first one in a long time where Michael Jordan hasn't played. Michael Jordan played at the University of North Carolina -- would he have been able to play there, would he have even gone there if there had been no Brown decision? We're not sure.
So I want to introduce these three people, each in their own turn, and ask them to say something. First, I'd like to start with Thurgood Marshall, Jr. His father argued the Brown decision and many other decisions before the Supreme Court, and became the first African American justice on the Supreme Court. He now works in the White House on the staff of Vice President Gore. And I'd like to introduce him and have him say a few words.
Mr. Marshall. (Applause.)
MR. MARSHALL: Thank you. And, thank you, Mr. President. I was actually born two years after the Brown decision was decided by the Supreme Court, so a lot of what I learned about it, I learned in school like you. And I had a special opportunity, of course, to learn because my father was at home with me and could teach me some of what he did and what others that worked with him did. Because, as you know, it was the product of a lot of work on the part of a lot of people.
Of the dozens of cases that my father worked on as a lawyer and as a judge, the Brown case was certainly the case that he was the most proud of, and it's the case that meant the most to me. And he dedicated his life to trying to make the principles of that decision a reality for all of us. And I hope that I can do that as well, and I hope you can do that with me.
This week I view as an opportunity to try to rekindle the spirit of the Brown decision and the spirit that gave rise to the movement that was manifested in that decision throughout the country. And I think it's important as we try to put it together in terms of what we're dealing with in our country at the moment, that we remember that that decision spoke to responsibility on the part of both society and all of us as individuals, the kind of spirit of responsibility that caused Ernie Green in Arkansas to show the courage that he did, and Linda Brown in Kansas, Reverend DeLaine in South Carolina, and Donald Murray here in Maryland. I mention each name because each individual took the time and risked his or her life to do what they did, and I hope you'll take that lesson with you today as well. Thank you. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: I'm going to give you a chance to ask them questions, too. But I want all of them to talk first.
One of the big issues that was inevitably a part of the Brown decision was, okay, the Supreme Court says you can't have any separate-but-equal school districts anymore. They're unconstitutional. Well, it's one thing for a court to issue an order and another thing for millions of people to change their lives, right?
I mean, how are you going to integrate all these schools? And what happens to the teachers? And what happens to the principals? And how do the kids get to new schools? And do the white kids go to the black schools, or do the black kids go to the white schools? Do you have to build new schools? There are mindbending details that had to be worked out. Plus the fact that in many parts of the country, there were still millions of Americans who didn't agree with the decision who were determined to resist it at every turn.
So while -- the Supreme Court's in the news this week because I just appointed Judge Breyer from Boston to the Supreme Court. And he's a very distinguished judge. I think he'll do a wonderful job. And they'll have these hearings in a few couple of months, and you'll be able to follow that. And I urge you to follow these hearings, see the questions they ask him and the answers he gives. Supreme Court's very important.
But the Supreme Court is nine people. They don't have any enforcement authority. So, then the lower courts have to somehow figure out how to enforce an order and approve plans and do things to try to figure out how was this Brown decision going to be implemented.
One of the states involved in the Brown decision in addition to Topeka, Kansas, was the State of South Carolina. Secretary Riley, the Secretary of Education, was the Governor of South Carolina before he became Secretary of Education. His father was the lawyer for one of the school districts involved in the desegregation effort in Brown 40 years ago. And he, as a governor, made a national reputation for his commitment to improving the education of all the children of South Carolina, which is why I named him the Secretary of Education.
So I'd like for him to talk a minute now about this Brown decision and what happened after it was decided and how it affected his life.
Secretary Riley. (Applause.)
SECRETARY RILEY: Well, in 1954, when I was a senior in college -- I'm older than these other people. You all didn't realize that, but I am. (Laughter.) Coming out then, I went in the Navy. And after that, coming back to South Carolina, I reflected back about how it was when I was growing up. I never did like segregation. I never did think it was fair. Even as a young child I was very uncomfortable with it, but it was the system then.
But coming out of high school I remember Sterling High was the black high school; Greenville High was the white school. Jesse Jackson, for example, came through Sterling High, and he was the star football player there. And I was the captain of Greenville High team, among several others. And I told Jesse Jackson one time that the only thing I could think of good about having segregation was a guy like me got to play football. I would never have played if I had been competing with Jesse. (Laughter.)
Coming on later, when we were really getting into the major case that the President is talking about, Greenville school district was a big school district, and they were kind of halfway into integrating the schools in compliance with Brown. There was a court case following that ordered Greenville to integrate all the schools in 30 days. Now, that was every coaching staff, every teaching complement of any school, all of the student body and the entire county, hundreds of students had to be totally integrated in 30 days.
And we did that, and we had a committee, and I was on the committee -- I was in the State Senate then -- and we really put it together. I was on television, urging everybody to stay with the public schools; my four children did. And we put it together and there was a video made of it, and it was called "Integration with Grace and Style." And we were always very proud of that. In 30 days, all the textbooks, moving them around and so forth -- so there were good examples of cases of where people really put things together and came out of it in a very positive way.
But I had the misfortune as a young person of not having social friends who were African Americans. I had a lot of good friends, and that was unfortunate for me. Of course, that's changed radically now, but it just makes me feel very good to see this class and to see classes all over the country where that's no longer the case. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: After the Brown decision was decided, like I said, all people had to figure out, well, how are we going to integrate our school system, and how fast. So they went back to the Supreme Court and there was a second Brown decision that said "with all deliberate speed." So, who knows what that means, right? For people who didn't want to integrate, they said with all deliberate speed might be four or five years. For people who did want to integrate, they said it would be four or five weeks.
So that was the issue there -- how long could they take to integrate. And the court order in Greenville said, all deliberate speed is 30 days; do it. And they did it, because they had leaders like Secretary Riley and his family who believed it was the right thing to do and who made it work. I'll say a little more about that in a minute. But believing in your heart that something is the right thing to do makes a big difference in whether it gets done or not.
Now, after these things happened, there was still resistance to integration all across the South and in other parts of America, and there were still other questions that had to be resolved and other issues about how this would be done.
In my home state and Mr. Green's home state of Arkansas, in Little Rock, there was a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court involving the Little Rock school system, called Cooper v. Arens, which was also a very large decision in the history of the Supreme Court law affecting the schools.
In Little Rock, the then-governor of our state called out the National Guard to stop the integration of the school, which had been ordered by the Supreme Court, devised by the local school board. And then the President of the United States, as you saw in the movie, took over the National Guard and used it to protect the right of Ernest Green and eight other people to attend Little Rock Central High School.
I want him to talk a little bit about his experience, how he felt, what he went through. You saw the movie, which was premiered, interestingly enough, in the auditorium at Little Rock Central High School, and he and I were there the night that it was premiered in the auditorium where he first -- where he became the first black student to go and to graduate.
He's done rather well. I want him to tell you a little bit about what he's doing with his life now so you'll understand the enormous consequence of this decision. But, first, I think you need to understand a little more about what happened. So I'd like to ask Mr. Green to talk now.
Ernest Green. (Applause.)
MR. GREEN: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you very much, Mr. President.
I want to say that I was your age, I was 12 years old when the Brown decision came down, probably, looking at your faces, a lot like you. It was something of enormous importance. But if you're a 9th grader, I mean, you've got a lot of important things to do, right? You've got to go to the next dance. You've got to study the next book, and things of such global proportions don't necessarily impact on you.
But the next morning when I woke up and read the paper, the Arkansas Democrat, the Democrat said this was the end of the South, this was a change of life. And I said, if the Democrat is against this, I've got to be for it because anything that the Arkansas Democrat is against is not in my interest. And I just analyzed it in that manner.
Little Rock was a community at that time of about 100,00 people. And I passed Central High School every day. In fact, in our science classes, we got the hand-me-down books from Central --physics and chemistry, those books were used previously by the white students. We played all of our football games at Central Stadium. Black students played on Friday night. White students played on Saturday night. So I knew the building, I knew the surroundings. I had never been inside the building, but I knew that the building was bigger than the school that I was attending, the number of courses that were given at Central were much more diverse and complex than the ones that I was getting and that I said that if I had a chance to go to Central High School, I wanted to attend.
Well, as the President indicated, that was the court decision that required the Little Rock school board to finally desegregate the schools. And their view of abiding with all deliberate speed was to start with 12th through the 10th grade. They were basically about 27 black students who had been accepted by the school board to go to Central. Out of the 27, only nine of us agreed to go; the others decided not to.
The first lesson of life that I learned, the tough decisions -- and you're going to face a lot of tough decisions -- the likelihood is that you'll have to stand alone on these decisions. But if they're decisions that you stand and believe in, they really are the right decisions. And I -- as life now, I look back -- I obviously don't regret having made the choice to go to that school. I couldn't have done it without my parents and my friends and other people that supported us.
But when we got there, we never anticipated that we were going to become a focal point, and that I certainly never thought that 35 years after going to high school I'd still be talking about it with a group of middle students. (Laughter.)
But the point is that we expected that schools would be relatively quiet. Little Rock had desegregated the buses, the libraries; the law schools, the medical schools had all accepted black students. And there was no expectation that there would be this big, constitutional confrontation.
I must say that I ran into Orville Faubus about four years ago.
THE PRESIDENT: He was the governor then.
MR. GREEN: He was the governor, not Bill Clinton. (Laughter.) And Faubus's spin on our issue then was he was simply trying to protect us. That could be a revisionist view of history -- (laughter) -- but I will say this, that the year was very rough.
You've seen the movie, and that only touches on some of the problems that we had. But in the end, it was a feeling of achievement, that I was the only senior of the nine students, that I knew that if I stayed through that year, that I would get the diploma. As it turns out, I not only got the diploma, but last week I went back to my university that I graduated from, Michigan State. They gave me an honorary doctorate degree, I spoke at the commencement. All of this has occurred -- I always like to point out, though, one other fact. I think the Brown decision helped free everybody in the South, black and white.
My good friend here -- I'd like to point out, that Bill Clinton, like Ernie Green, like Goody Marshall, like many of us of that generation, would not have known each other, may not have had the opportunities because it certainly widened economic opportunity in the south. It opened up schools, it opened up social relations, and it finally breathed life into an area that we thought was always the best and the most open, and if given the opportunity, a place that everybody could thrive.
And I want to make one other point and then I'm going to sit down. I went with the President's delegation to South Africa last week and saw Nelson Mandela sworn in as the new President of South Africa. I want to point out to you there is a clear line between the Brown decision and Nelson Mandela's swearing-in. If it hadn't been for the Brown decision we wouldn't have had a voting rights act. The voting rights act wouldn't have had the expansive number of African American members in the Congress, state and local government types who help put the squeeze on sanctions and the bond business and the pension business. All of this is related to opening up a country, opening up a world, empowering people.
And I hope that you are left with one impression. When you saw those long lines of people standing in line in South Africa to cast their right to vote, that you'll know that it's tied to this Supreme Court decision, that in the end the right to vote for every citizen in this world, in this country, is tied to that decision. And for that, we really are -- this country is enormously better off. And I hope you take advantage of it.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: I want to give you a chance to ask questions, if you have any questions of any of them or me. But let me just follow up on one thing Mr. Green said.
You heard Dick Riley say how much he regretted the fact that he grew up in a segregated society. A lot of us who were Southerners, who grew up in the South, really knew better. We knew that segregation was wrong. And we knew that -- those of us who were white knew that it was hurting us, that we were being deprived of the opportunity to know people, to share their feelings, to share their life experiences, to share their music, their culture, to deal with people who were just being cut off.
And the things which happened to integrate the country, integrated the South, at least in the beginning, more than any other part of the country because it was the most segregated part, and it was the part that had the highest percentage of African American population. And I am convinced that those things -- first, the education decisions, and then the voting rights decision -- they did help to inspire and give energy to what ultimately happened in South Africa.
The United States contributed $35 million last year to helping to build democracy in South Africa -- helping train people to vote, helping conduct, show people how to run the elections, helping to figure out how this could be done. But I also have to tell you that I think it is virtually inconceivable that I would have ever become President of the United States had it not been for the Brown decision because of the relationships -- and the voting rights decision -- and the relationships that subsequently I developed with the African Americans in my state whose support helped to make me governor, and with people around the country who made me president. So there is a sense in which, in very tangible, real ways, these decisions freed a lot of Americans to be more than they otherwise would have been.
So, do you have any questions to any of them or me that you want to ask? Yes, in the back.
Q I would like to ask Mr. Green -- I'm sure it was very hard when you were going to Central High School. What kept you going? What was the big motivational factor for you?
MR. GREEN: Well, the biggest motivation was that we felt we were -- we had a goal. The goal was to try to open up opportunities in Little Rock. We were able to do that, had this focus because of the support we got from our families an our churches. And then, in the end, all nine of us kind of bonded together. We are a club for life. When one decided that things were getting rather rough, the other eight supported them. So it was that bond between the nine of us, the support from our homes, and the belief, as the President indicated, that why we didn't know for sure what the future was going to be, we knew we didn't want to go back to the past, and we wanted something a little bit better than what we were seeing, and that this was one of the ways to try to get there.
Q When you were in school how did integrating your school affect you?
THE PRESIDENT: My public schools were not integrated until two years after I left. That's the point I was trying to make with Ernest. The integration of the schools throughout the South basically took about 15 years after the Brown decision. So I'm a little bit younger than Ernie, not much.
And so our school -- what happened was, a lot of these school districts sat around and waited for the Justice Department to come after them, the federal government to say, where is your plan, or for somebody to force the states to adopt a plan. And that's why I wanted to make the point that, after Brown v. Board of Education, all of these schools didn't integrate overnight, and it took a significant number of years before it happened throughout the South and throughout the country.
MR. GREEN: Mr. President, I think one of the things you want to point out about the Little Rock case is that Little Rock was much earlier than many of the other cases, and that the fact that the federal government finally used their power and might to underscore it may have help, I like to think, fuel part of the modern civil rights movement.
As you know from the movie, we had a thousand paratroopers that came to Little Rock to enforce the court order. But this was the first time that school desegregation had been undergirded by federal support in that manner.
THE PRESIDENT: I also want to make another point that I think might have been passed over. Ernie mentioned this. Arkansas was actually a good candidate for a peaceful, successful integration of Little Rock Central High School. We were the first state in the south to integrate our law school. We had an integrated medical school. We had a newspaper in Little Rock, the Arkansas Gazette, which was, I think, one of the -- by any standard -- one of the finest papers in the country, which was strongly supportive of integration. We had a lot of leadership, white leadership, in Little Rock that was strongly supportive of integration.
And in cases like this, when countries or cities or states can go one way or the other, the impact of leadership is pivotal. When the Governor called out the National Guard to stop the integration, it wasn't even all that popular in Little Rock. A lot of the white people didn't like it. But it was wildly popular out in our state in the more rural areas where the racial animosity was greater and the fear of change was greater. And so it was a politically popular decision. But it wrecked the chance we had to become the first southern state that would really have a beginning statewide successful, peaceful integration.
Later when Atlanta began to integrate, a lot of leaders in Atlanta looked at what happened in Little Rock and said, we don't want that to happen here and we're not going to permit it. Very interesting.
So how people behave in times of crisis is very important and makes a big difference. The court decision still is carried out by people, and as I said, what's in their heart makes a difference.
Do you have any questions for them anymore?
Q Mr. Green, how did you feel the first time, the first day you went to Central High School?
MR. GREEN: Apprehension, some fear. It turned out, though, that that first day eight of us went as a group, and one of the students missed the directions. Elizabeth Eckford is the student that you see in the pictures being harassed by the mob.
I think after that day, when we finally got home and saw the footage on television and all, we all finally figured out we were in the middle of a serious struggle at that point. But it also convinced us that we weren't going to back down, that we were committed to the change. We thought that we were right and we had a lot of support to undergird that. So it just reinforced that we were going to stick it out.
Q Mr. Green, how did your brother feel about your transfer to Central High?
MR. GREEN: Initially, he thought I was a little wacky. (Laughter.) But he supported me and my family did. And he's now living in New York. In fact, my brother, as a result also of the Brown outcome, he's a journeyman in one of the sheet metal unions in New York. And if you know anything about the building trade area and the skilled trades, it's been one in which African Americans have had a difficult time in gaining entrance. And because of Brown, again, employment, discrimination, voting rights -- all of this you can relate to the '54 Brown decision.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes.
Q This is directed to Mr. Marshall. How has this affected your life today?
MR. MARSHALL: The decision and its aftermath have affected my life today largely because it puts in perspective for me a number of the problems that we face in society now; the problems that divide people by race, which also are, I believe, one of the causes of the violence we face. And for that reason, the decision and the efforts that led up to it and followed through on it have reminded me of the importance of everyone trying to work together as opposed to the politics of division that have caused a number of the problems we have now. So it's been more of a reminder to me than anything else that we need that as a goal.
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead, you're next.
Q This is for both Mr. Green and you, Mr. President. Did you have -- while the integration was going on, did you ever feel like taking the law into your own hands and doing something drastic? (Laughter.)
MR. GREEN: Thank you, Mr. President. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: There are some benefits to this job. (Laughter.)
MR. GREEN: The reality of what we were faced with was that we were nine students; there were over 2,000 white students at Central High School at that time, and so the logic would say that you simply weren't going to fight your way out of it -- the numbers were too overwhelming.
But secondly, we had the -- when President Eisenhower stepped in with the paratroopers and the Army, we had the feeling, initially that we had the support of the United States government behind us. And as time wore on, we began to see support from all around the country and around the world.
And the end result was that one of the people who attended my graduation in May of 1958 was Dr. King. He was speaking at a college down in Pine Bluff, and came up to Central that night. I didn't know that he was in the audience until the ceremony was over with. And Dr. King in 1958 was not the towering giant that he is today. But all of this points out, I think, that the moment you think you are going to take it into your own hands, use some extreme violence, manage to turn your off switch on and stop, pause 30 seconds, take a deep breath, count because the likelihood is not worth that.
And I think many of our young people -- this whole issue of nonviolence, they see it as an impractical tool, but it's something that we need a lot to think about in resolving conflicts -- that you don't lash out, you don't want to punch somebody out, you don't want to hit them, that that's not the way to resolve conflicts.
The real way to resolve conflicts is that if you can ever use your mind, you can out-think them. And we proved that in Little Rock. In the end, we could out-think the segregationists, the resisters. And the day, whenever I go back home with the President, I can't find anybody in Little Rock who is opposed to my being at Little Rock Central High School (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: I want to make two points about it. First is, back then, the law was our friend and lawlessness was our enemy. In other words, the Supreme Court was the friend of integration. The President was enforcing the Supreme Court order. And after President Kennedy was elected, Robert Kennedy was the attorney general. He was out there killing himself trying to get the schools integrated and to enforce the law. So the law was seen as the friend of the people who wanted change.
The second point I'd like to make is, people were willing to put themselves on the line. These people like Ernie -- Mr. Marshall's father worked for years and years and years. They were willing to pay the price of time. What you have today in a lot of communities is young people taking the law into their own hands either because they can't manage their own aggressions and they've got a gun handy, or because they're doing it for some -- it arises out of drug dealing or something like that, where people want a quick benefit instead of a long-term benefit.
And I think one of the things the schools have to drum into our kids today is that you always have to be living for your lifetime. You always have to be thinking about what it's going to be like down the road. No one is entitled to instant gratification all the time, to get what they want when they want it, right now. You have to be willing to pay the price of time.
And these nine young people of whom Ernie was the leader were willing -- they paid an enormous price for themselves as well as for everybody they represented by saying, in my life this will be better. And if I could change one thing about what's going on today, when there's so much mindless violence among young people and kids are just getting shot at random, it's because people are going around acting on their impulses in the moment.
And the law can still be your friend if you're willing to work and have discipline and take time with it. Nobody gets everything they want just when they want it. You have to pay the price of time and be willing to have -- to take the kind of discipline risks that Ernie Green did. And that, I think, is one of the things we really have got to somehow hammer home to everybody in your generation.
You've been great. I can tell -- the teacher's telling me it's time to stop. The principal is. Thank you all very much. You were terrific. Thank you, gentlemen. (Applause.)
(Gifts are presented to the President.)
The great thing about the United States, the great thing about the United States is that all the history of our country lives in the present and helps to pave the way for the future.
I had Senator Byrd in my office last night, who is the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. They have to approve all the money that gets spent. Like if we send any money to your school, it comes through that committee. And he had just finished reading the Federalist Papers written by Madison and Hamilton; just read them all again, because he said they have relevance to today.
Brown is important today. It's living in your life today. And what you have to do is to make the most of this experience and make the most of your own life, so that, 40 years from now, young people will be sitting in this school and other schools around the country and they will be living the accumulated history of America.
That's the only way this works. That's the brilliant thing about our country. That's why we wanted to come here and talk about it, because we know the spirit and the meaning of that decision is alive in your lives today. And as long as you believe that and you do your part, then this country is going to be around a long, long time.
Thank you. (Applause.)
END12:15 P.M. EDT