Thurgood Marshall Essay, Research Paper
Thurgood Marshall was born on July 2, 1908, in Baltimore, Maryland. Thurgood was the grandson of a slave. His father, William Marshall, instilled in him from youth an appreciation for the United States Constitution, and the rule of law. His father became Chief Steward of the prestigious Island Club, while mother Norma Marshall, a graduate of an all black college in Maryland, taught in a segregated Baltimore Elementary School.
After completing High School, in 1925, Thurgood followed his brother, Aubrey Marshall, at the historically black Lincoln University, in Chester, Pennsylvania. His classmates at Lincoln included a distinguished group of future black leaders, such as the poet, and author, Langston Hughes, the future president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, and musician Cab Calloway. Aubrey attended Medical School and became an eminent Chest Surgeon.
Thurgood then graduated with honors in 1930. He then attended Howard University Law School, graduating in 1933. The following year he began to work for the Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Along with Charles Houston, a mentor of Marshall’s from Howard University, Thurgood won his first major civil rights case, in the summer of 1935. Murray vs. Pearson, in which the NAACP argued the right of Donald Gaines Murray to enter the University of Maryland Law School. Marshall argued the case, stating, “What’s at stake here is more than the right of my client. It’s the moral commitment stated in our Country’s Creed.
Marshall’s achievement led him to being, by 1950, one of the country’s leading civil rights lawyers, heading the movement for black rights in the South. He won Supreme Court victories in two graduate school cases in 1950, Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka in 1954, was the landmark case that demolished the legal basis for segregation in the United States.
President John F. Kennedy appointed Thurgood to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. From 1961 until 1965 he made 98 rulings, all of them upheld by the Supreme Court. President Johnson appointed him U.S. Solicitor General in 1965, and he successfully argued 14 out of 16 cases for the Government. He was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1967. Thurgood Marshall represented and won more cases before the United States Supreme Court than any other American. He was the first African-American to achieve the distinction of serving on the Supreme Court, and continued his work of protecting the constitutional rights of all races.
He served on the Court for 24 years until June 28, 1991, when he announced his retirement due to advancing age and deteriorating health. He passed away January 24, 1993.