N.C. makes forceful case for ‘race consciousness’

On this day in 1955: I. Beverly Lake Sr., assistant attorney general of North Carolina, arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court that the state should be given no deadline to desegregate its schools:

“Race consciousness is not race prejudice. It is not race hatred. It is not intolerance. It is a deeply ingrained awareness of a birthright held in trust for posterity. . . .

“The majority of North Carolinians have been taught from infancy, and they understand, how it came about that Israel became a great nation, while Edom faded into oblivion, and they agree with the great Disraeli, who said: ‘No man will treat with indifference the principle of race, for it is the key to history.’ “