Thurgood Marshall left a large imprint on American history and helped obtain civil rights for African Americans. But, how much do we really know about this important American?
Here are 23 facts you must know about Thurgood Marshall!
Fact 1: Thurgood Marshall was the first African American member of the Supreme Court.
Fact 2: Marshall had a big hand in changing the racial separation laws of America. Before the U.S. Supreme Court he successfully argued the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, in 1954, which declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. This case is known as the most important civil rights case of the 20th century!
Fact 3: Marshall’s life was threatened during the historic Brown v. Board of Education case.
Fact 4: Marshall’s definition of equal was: “Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time, and in the same place.”
Fact 5: Marshall graduated from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, with honors in 1930.
Fact 6: Thurgood Marshall was rejected from the University Of Maryland Law School because of his skin color. Instead, he attended Howard University Law School, where in 1933 he received his degree, ranking first in his class.
Fact 7: Charles Hamilton Houston, American lawyer and educator whose work also led to U.S. Supreme Court rulings which declared racial segregation unlawful, encouraged Marshall to think of law as a tool for social change. In 1936 Marshall began to work with Houston for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Fact 8: One of Marshall’s first legal cases and victories was Murray v. Pearson in 1935, in which he sued the University of Maryland for denying an African American admission to its law school on the basis of race.
Fact 9: Marshall won 29 out of 32 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and become one of the best lawyers in America.
Fact 10: In 1950, Marshall became the chief attorney for the NAACP, where he remained for a total of 25 years.
Fact 11: Thurgood Marshall was the grandson of a slave. His grandfather was brought to America from Congo.
Fact 12: In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Marshall to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Fact 13: In July 1965, Marshall was named by President Lyndon B. Johnson as U.S. solicitor general. Johnson also nominated Marshall to the Supreme Court in 1967. His appointment was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 30, 1967.
Fact 14: Marshall is known as a leader in the civil rights movement in the U.S. in the mid-20th century.
Fact 15: Marshall was the youngest son of a railroad porter and a steward at an all-white country club, William Canfield Marshall, and an elementary school teacher, Norma Williams Marshall.
Fact 16: Norma Williams Marshall is said to have sold her wedding and engagement rings in order to pay for her sons tuition at the Howard University Law School.
Fact 17: Marshall served as the Supreme Court Justice for twenty-four years.
Fact 18: Marshall’s opinion was that everyone has the right to be represented by a great lawyer, no matter of his guilt.
Fact 19: Marshall often voted against the death sentence, saying that no one should be put to death for no reason.
Fact 20: Marshall visited South Korea and Japan in 1950 in order to investigate charges of racism in the U.S. armed forces.
Fact 21: In 1991, Marshall retired from the Supreme Court. During a press conference Marshall told reporters he was retiring because „I am getting old and coming apart.” He added that he would like to be remembered „for doing the best I could with what I had.”
Fact 22: Marshall died in 1993 at the age of 84.
Fact 23: Ebony magazine, the oldest African American magazine, dubbed Marshall „the most important Black man of this century (20th) —a man who rose higher than any Black person before him and who has had more effect on Black lives than any other person, Black or White.”