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It is risky to say of a man who is still so vibrantly alive that he is destined for immortality. Yet the risk seems small when the man is Hugo Lafayette Black, who in February celebrates—or, more probably, ignores—his 75th birthday. For there is about this man an unmistakable aura of greatness. It is not alone the greatness of his contributions to constitutional law over more than a score of continuing years—although it is for these that he, like Marshall and Holmes before him, will some distant day be best remembered. It is rather a greatness of mind and heart, a rare blending of intellectual keenness and courage with human compassion that is far easier to sense than to define. And though much of this magical dual quality marks his work on the Court and seeps from between the lines of his opinions for all who can read to see, it can only be felt full-strength in the living presence of Hugo Black himself.
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