Durham students watch history unfold with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's confirmation

7 April 2022

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) — About 230 miles away from Capitol Hill, students at Northern High School in Durham received a live history lesson. They watched as the United States Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court.

Jackson will become the first African American woman to serve on the bench.

“With history happening in the moment, it’s really inspiring for students to understand that history is not just a bunch of old dead people that they have to memorize from the textbooks, but instead history is happening now,” American History teacher Margaret Mary Mills-Thomason said.

Students took in the historic moment with their eyes glued to the screen.

This marks several firsts for the nation. It’s the first time an African American and South Asian American woman has presided over the Senate vote, the first time three justices who are ethnic minorities will serve together, and the first time four female justices will sit on the bench.

Students say doubt set in.

“Yeah, I was thinking what if she didn’t,” sophomore student Janiya Nicholson said.

“Seeing the votes go up and down getting balanced and unbalanced,” sophomore student Gavin Turrentine said.

As the votes are tallied up and things became official, President Joe Biden snapped a picture with Jackson.

Students at Northern High cheered as they witnessed history.

“It makes me think that I can actually achieve anything like she did if I just try and put my mind to it,” Turrentine said.

Jackson is set to take her seat on the bench after Associate Justice Stephen Breyer retires this summer.

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