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Thurgood Marshall photo montage
The first African American Supreme Court Justice was Thurgood Marshall. Photo montage by Irene Dumas.
Supreme Court Justice

Thurgood Marshall was the first African-American associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Surprisingly, Thurgood Marshall did not start out as a good student. He had poor grades and misbehaved in class. Then he was expelled from Lincoln University twice. Everything changed for him after he married his wife Vivian Burey, she supported him and helped him decide to go back to school.

Marshall Thurgood returned to Lincoln University and then moved on to law school at Howard University in Washington D.C. Three years later, Thurgood Marshall graduated at the top of his class. Howard University was a prominent center for African-American scholars, but when he returned home in 1933 to open his own law office he struggled because white clients did not want to hire a black lawyer.

Finally, in the fall of 1934 Thurgood Marshall found a job as a lawyer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The NAACP’s goal was to end racial segregation in schools. Thurgood Marshall’s greatest case was Brown V. Board of Education in 1954. The Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools was harmful to black children.
In 1967, Thurgood Marshall was nominated to be a Justice of the United States Supreme Court at 59. He retired on June 27, 1991 and died shortly after in 1993 at 84.

"Thurgood Marshall." DISCovering Multicultural America: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Student Resources in Context. Web. 1 Feb. 2016. Use the Gale database on the library homepage to find this source.


Thurgood Marshall

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