This is part of WTOP’s continuing coverage of people making a difference from our community authored by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. Read more of that coverage.
On July 5, 1852, the day after Independence Day, abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass delivered a speech in Rochester, New York, called “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
Nearly 170 years after his blistering indictment of slavery in America, following the swearing-in of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson onto an embattled Supreme Court, the question remains top of mind for one Prince George’s County resident: retired Maryland Circuit Court Judge Ingrid Turner.
In Turner’s mind, the progress made since 1852 is great, but long past due.
“We should have had this years ago,” Turner said, adding that the new Supreme Court justice is highly qualified for the position.
“I’m so proud of her, I’m so proud of what she stands for,” she told WTOP.
Turner said she is also proud of the opportunities she knows will open up for the next generation as a result of having Justice Jackson on the highest court in the land.
“If you believe in yourself, you work hard, and you put your trust in God, anything is possible and you can do it,” she said, adding that she says the same when speaking to Naval Academy students.
Like Justice Jackson, Turner has her own set of firsts — first Black woman elected to the Prince George’s County Council for District 4 in 2006 and eventual president of the Maryland Association of Counties.
She became a judge for the Seventh Circuit Court in Maryland, after winning in the general election in November of 2016.
The Prince George’s County resident spent twenty years in the Navy JAG Corps and was one of only 64 women to graduate from the United States Naval Academy in 1986.
Turner graduated with an MBA from Golden State University and received her JD from the Catholic University of America, Columbia University School of Law.