Happy Birthday Justice Marshall!

July 2 is the birthday of  Thurgood  Marshall, the first African-American to serve as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

He was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1908.

Unknown-2Marshall’s legal shingle went up in 1935. Five years later, he won his first case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Chambers v. Florida, which asserted due process was violated by a forced confession of an African American defendant. Marshall was named chief counsel for the National Association for the Advancmenet of Colored People the same year. He won 29 of the 32 cases he argued including the landmark Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

President John Kennedy named Marshall to the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in 1961. Four years later, President Lyndon Johnson appointed him U.S. Solicitor General, the first African American to hold the job.  In 1967, Johnson appointed Marshall to the High Court where he served for 24 years.  President George Bush replaced him with Clarence Thomas in 1991.

Marshall died in 1993 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Some quotes:

“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.”images-1

“If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.”

“A child born to a Black mother in a state like Mississippi… has exactly the same rights as a white baby born to the wealthiest person in the United States. It’s not true, but I challenge anyone to say it is not a goal worth working for.” 

“I have a lifetime appointment and I intend to serve it. I expect to die at 110, shot by a jealous husband.”



Filed under: News


  1. We need a few more just like him. Love the quotes

    Comment by Barbara OConnor — 7.02.2013 @ 5:08 pm

  2. It sounds funny to say that Clarence Thomas replaced him. Would that it were so. Just imagine how last week’s voting rights decision would have gone.

    Comment by JoAnn Anglin — 7.02.2013 @ 9:28 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment