African-American Justice of the
Supreme Court (1908-1993)
One of the greatest fighters of civil
rights, Thurgood Marshall was born on July 2, 1908 in Baltimore, Maryland. He
achieved national recognition for his civil rights achievements as a lawyer and late as an
associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Marshall attended
public schools in Baltimore. He is a product of Frederick Douglass High School.
Later Marshall graduated from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and Howard
University Law School in Washington, D.c.
Marshall returned to his native Baltimore
to practice law. Most of his clients were people who made a modest living.
Many could not afford the services he rendered. However, personal
circumstances did not stop him from handling the problems that were presented to him.
Marshall handled numerous cases involving legal disputes, police brutality,
eviction, and other civil rights issues. Due to his untiring dedication and skillful
court presentations, he became known as the "littleman's lawyer,"
In 1934, Marshall was appointed as an
assistant to special counsel Charles Hamilton Houston, who worked for the Baltimore branch
of the NAACP. In 1938, Marshall became a special assistant to the NAACP, Marshall
represented clients with civil rights cases all over the United States. He won
thirty-two out of thirty-five cases taken to the Supreme Court. His reputation
spread throughout the United States for his outstanding work. Marshall was known as the
greatest constitutional lawyer of this century when he served as chief attorney for the
Marshall was nominated by President John
F. Kennedy for appointment to the Second Supreme Court of Appeals in 1961. The
appointment was confirmed by the Senate, President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated Marshall
for appointment as Solicitor General of the U.S., and eventually nomination to the highest
court as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. This nomination was indeed a
historical event. When Marshall took his oath in June of 1967, he became the first
African-American to serve as a Justice of the Supreme Court. Justice Marshall
received many awards and citations for his outstanding contributions to the field of civil