Sunday, July 02, 2006

Happy Birthday Thurgood Marshall

It's the birthday of the first African American to serve as a Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, born in Baltimore, Maryland (1908).

He applied to the University of Maryland Law School, but he was rejected on the basis of race, so he enrolled at Howard University instead. The first thing he did, upon graduation, was use his law degree to sue the University of Maryland for racial discrimination, and he almost couldn't believe it when he won. Thanks to his efforts, the University of Maryland Law School admitted its first black student in 1935. It was the first time that a black student had ever been admitted to any state law school south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Marshall became the legal director of the NAACP, and of the thirty-two cases he argued for that organization, he won twenty-nine. His biggest case was the landmark Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. He went on to serve as an appeals court judge under Kennedy, and Johnson appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1967.

Thurgood Marshall said, "None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody—a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns—bent down and helped us pick up our boots." [Writer's Almanac]


Post a Comment

<< Home

WWW Strange Fruit