Asked by an African-American board member about his objection to the inclusion of Thurgood Marshall in the textbook standards -- Rev. Marshall called the jurist not "a strong enough example" -- Rev. Marshall responded: "He's known primarily for that one very important Supreme Court decision."
And he seemed to draw a hard distinction between historical figures who are minorities and historical figures who are sufficiently accomplished for inclusion.
"My plea simply is again, with the hundreds of historical American people, I think it's very important to emphasize to children character," he said.
"I'm concerned about the modern trend of just identifying people as members of groups -- whether minority groups or whatever," Marshall said.
Marshall had also objected to the inclusion of Cesar Chavez in the new standards, but, curiously -- to make a point, perhaps -- suggested listing Pedro Flores, who Marshall falsely described as the inventor of the yo-yo. (In fact he is regarded as the first yo-yo manufacturer in the United States).
Asked by another board of ed member about the yo-yo matter, a flustered Marshall couldn't come up with a response, saying "there's an awful lot of people you can include."