African American History Month, celebrated every February, this year occurs during the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and of Freedom Summer, two landmark events that helped end legal segregation in America.
Standing in the heart of the Aztec Ruins National Monument in northwest New Mexico, Chief Judge M. Christina Armijo of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico administered the Oath of Allegiance this month to ten new citizens of the United States.
It was a convergence of history at a recent District of Kansas’ naturalization ceremony. During the 150th anniversary year of the Emancipation Proclamation, standing in the former Monroe Elementary School at the heart of Brown v. Board of Education, the first African American woman to sit on the federal trial bench in Kansas administered the oath of allegiance to a group completing the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
When the United States celebrates Women’s History Month every March, images like Rosie the Riveter posters or pictures of marching suffragists come to mind. However, another image can be introduced in the framing of women’s history: a judicial robe.
In regions around the country, members of Congress turned to federal judges to take public oaths of office in their home districts. The representatives earlier had taken official oaths in Washington when the current session began.