Not Many People Love to Sit in Court...But Today it was Actually Interesting - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

04/16/02

Not Many People Love to Sit in Court...But Today it was Actually Interesting

  In 1891 when the state supreme court last listened to a case in Tyler, many people never would have imagined an African American would sit in the highest court in the state.

 "I really had no dream this would be a possibility," says Justice Wallace Jefferson who is the first African American to ever sit on the bench.

  But Justice Wallace Jefferson achieved more than just a seat on this bench.

  "My grandmother's great grandfather was a slave in Waco and owned by a State Court District Judge who ultimately helped my ancestor become a City Councilmen in Waco after the Civil War. And it is quite a coincidence that now a decedent of that slave is serving on the court."

  A court that today heard cases fighting for the rights of people.

  "Today we had an employer and employee case. Citizens in Texas work and work hard and they need to know what the law is pertaining to their employment."

But Justice Jefferson also uses these visits to teach young people about pursuing their dreams.

"My hope is that students of all races backgrounds know that this is a great country. It allows opportunity for anyone who applies themselves."

And his story was heard loud and clear.

"It showed me there is a chance for African Americans, says Brandy Jiles who is an aspiring law school student currently studying Political Science at U.T. Tyler.

 "There are opportunities out there for my race to be have an impact on our future there are opportunities for young people out there today," says Brandy Jiles.

Brandy hopes one day she will be given the chance to follow Justice Jefferson's footsteps and knowing that makes Justice Jefferson's trip more than worthwhile, because he is proof..anything is possible.

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