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A Hunger for Memory, a Thirst for Justice

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Keynote address at the University of Michigan Law School in remembrance of Juan Luis Tienda, November 1992. "...A young man of humble lineage, Juan Luis Tienda strived for, and achieved, a virtuous life. We know him best by his deeds. He himself, only 24 years old when he died, may not have been fully conscious (who among us is?) of the historical chain of being of which he was a part, anymore than fish are of water. Yet his short life was meaningful and purposeful, and in his own way, above all in his thirst for justice and in his search for meaning in his life's work, he was a representative of a long and rich Hispanic tradition in the Americas of students of law – from Bartolomé de Las Casas, the Spanish son of a friend of Columbus who denounced the encomienda system while renouncing his own inherited privilege and who issued the "first cry for justice in the Americas," to Benito Juárez, a Zapotec Indian who did not learn to speak Spanish until he was twelve but became Mexico's great reformer and liberal president, and José Martí, the criollo son of Spanish immigrants and apostle of Cuban independence whose prolific prose and poetry was penned largely in exile – lawyers all who thirsted for justice, who saw wrong and tried to right it."

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