The Truths We Hold

The Truths We Hold

An American Journey

Kamala Harris

Though the seed was planted very early on, I’m not sure when, exactly, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer. Some of my greatest heroes were lawyers: Thurgood Marshall, Charles Hamilton Houston, Constance Baker Motley—giants of the civil rights movement. I cared a lot about fairness, and I saw the law as a tool that can help make things fair. But I think what most drew me to the profession was the way people around me trusted and relied on lawyers. Uncle Sherman and our close friend Henry were lawyers, and any time someone had a problem, within the family or the neighborhood, the first thing you’d hear was “Call Henry. Call Sherman. They’ll know what to do. They’ll know how to make sense of this.” I wanted to be able to do that. I wanted to be the one people called. I wanted to be the one who could help. So when it came to college, I wanted to get off on the right foot. And what better place to do that, I thought, than at Thurgood Marshall’s alma mater? • • • Ihad always heard stories about what a wonderful place Howard University was, especially from Aunt Chris, who had gone there. Howard is an institution with an extraordinary legacy, one that has endured and thrived since its founding, two years after the Civil War. It endured when the doors of higher education were largely closed to black students. It endured when segregation and discrimination were the law of the land. It endured when few recognized the potential and capacity of young black men and women to be leaders. Generations of students had been nurtured and edified at Howard, equipped with the confidence to aim high and the tools to make the climb. I wanted to be one of them—and in the fall of 1982, I moved into Eton Towers, my first college dorm.

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