a poem about the great civil rights attorney and Justice Thurgood Marshall
"Freedom in the Distance"
A man like no other came to answer freedom’s call,
Thurgood Marshall rode miles on America's rails.
Justice was served ice cold in southern courts,
thirsting for a savior to balance rigged scales.
Riding into towns under cover of night,
a brilliant black lawyer took on a sacred fight.
Stalked by FBI and KKK, he never felt truly safe.
A warrior of the law, words spilled forth armed with might.
His defendant was a wrongly caged blackbird.
Guilty for a law broken, maybe one not even known.
Mostly for the sin of skin color and class.
Poor, doomed, trapped in a dirty jail, far from home
Always a hurried trial, knowing the NAACP is at bay.
If they wait, a crowd armed with a noose,
comes to play judge and jury their wicked way.
Picnic lunchers watch their “guilty”die, hung to sway.
Marshall knows a prisoner’s life is a butcher block.
Like an OB doc, the call comes, he’s on the clock.
Riding the colored car, studying books for any legal trick of the Bar.
When he arrives, a homemade black cavalry surrounds each side.
Happy faces feed and protect him, the accused neighbors swarm in.
To be held in high esteem is nice, but a mistake means a man’s life.
Always doing his very best, an almost perfect record rests.
Hugged worn, weary with spiritual peace, train rocks home, free of strife.
By Kathie Stehr
May 26, 2021