Charles L. Black, Jr.: Commitment, Connection, and the Ceaseless Quest for Justice
25 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2010
Date Written: November 1, 2006
The late Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai once said, “A poet’s state of mind is seeing the world with a kind of double exposure, seeing undertones and overtones, seeing the world as it is.” Charles Black, Jr. saw the world as it is. With indomitable flair, his remarkable riffs worked to change it.
It is no exaggeration to note that the beauty and importance of language is more evident in Hawai‘i than in the continental United States. And the empathetic power of music that linked and changed the lives of Charles Black, Jr. and Louis Armstrong is also potent and profound within these beautiful islands. Through these and other means, people in Hawai‘i and across the Pacific may be more open than most to sense undertones and overtones and thereby to “see the world as it is.”89 As well as rewarding subtle sensibility, such acute perception imposes a deep obligation, perhaps even more upon lawyers than on most people. We are challenged to delve beneath “false practicality” and instead to perform what Black aptly described as the “tough practical job . . . the bringing down to earth of justice tempered by mercy.”
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