Tales from the Vault #5
“Earl Warren and California State College, Bakersfield”
This edition of Tales takes us to the Earl Warren Collection housed in the Historical Research Center’s Special Collections and Rare Book Room. Many of you perhaps know Earl Warren as the Supreme Court Justice who presided over the 1954 landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education or as the Governor of California. But did you know that Earl Warren graduated from Kern County Union High School (now known as Bakersfield High School) in 1908?
On June 10, 1973 the retired Chief Justice returned to deliver the commencement speech to the graduating students of California State College Bakersfield. I offer two interesting quotes from that speech:
“There is a malaise throughout the world today, because after a generation of war psychology during which human values were submerged, so many failures in society are surfacing at the same time that many people are in a state of shock. Realizing for the first time the magnitude of our problems, they are disillusioned as to the things we formerly relied on implicitly. They now are doubting everything and, in frustration, are questioning the institutions themselves as well as the manner in which they have been administered.”
“I suggest again that you eschew both lethargy and frustration as you would the plague. They are deadly enemies of human progress. Let the dynamism of youth, your sense of fair play, and your instinct for survival guide your actions. You and your contemporaries can lead our Nation to happier and more secure days for both of you and those who are to follow. I congratulate you upon accepting the challenge of your future. I can guarantee it will be exciting, and I trust you will also find your efforts rewarding.”
Warren’s words were genuine and inspiring. Do you want to learn more about Earl Warren? His story and others are available in the Historical Research Center. Come visit us! You never know what you’ll discover!