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"Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time and in the same place."

FREEDOM HERO:
THURGOOD MARSHALL
by Huava from St. Paul

Thurgood Marshall in the 1950s

Thurgood Marshall, son of William and Norma Marshall, was born on July 8, 1908, in Maryland. His real name was Thoroughgood Marshall. He had a brother named William.

Thurgood Marshall grew up wanting to be a lawyer. His dream came true; he became a lawyer and went to work for the NAACP. Thurgood Marshall did the right thing for all of us, and he is like a father to all the African-Americans.


During his time with the NAACP, he fought against segregation. He didn't care if a person's skin color was different than his; he still fought for them too. He wanted everybody to have the same rights to government and believed that the President should give the same respect and rights to everybody. When asked for a defintion of "equal" by Justice Frankfurter, Marshall replied, "Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time and in the same place."


President Johnson names Marshall Supreme Court Justice

He was the first African-American to win a case before the Supreme Court. This case made it against the law for schools to be segregated. In 1961, President John Kennedy made him a judge. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson made Thurgood Marshall a Supreme Court Justice, a decision he stood by despite great controversy. Marshall was the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court. He served for 24 years.


In a speech before the graduating class at Howard University School of Law, Thurgood Marshall quoted another great American, the late Chief Justice Warren Burger:

"Those who won our independence believed that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government. They eschewed silence coerced by law."

Marshall retired from the Supreme Court June 28, 1991, due to advancing age and deteriorating health. He passed away January 24, 1993.


Written by Huava from St. Paul
Photos courtesy of The Moreland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University.
Last changed on: 8/11/2014 12:27:50 PM

Oral interview with Thurgood Marshall

National Museum of African American History and Culture


Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary
by Juan Williams
suggest a book crate your own hero page
 
   

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