B.E.S.T. Celebrates Black History Month with: Thurgood Marshall
February 17, 2015
B.E.S.T. Celebrates Black History Month with:
Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) was a U.S. Supreme Court Justice and civil rights advocate. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Marshall attended the city’s racially segregated public schools and graduated from Lincoln University. He received his law degree from Howard University. Marshall earned an important place in American history on the basis of two accomplishments, first as legal counsel; and second, as a Justice of the Supreme Court.
As legal counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Marshall argued thirty-two cases before the Supreme Court, prevailing in twenty-nine of them. These cases include:
- Smith v. Allwright (1944), which invalidated the practice of barring blacks from the Democratic party primary in a state where that party controlled state government
- Shelley v. Kraemer (1948), which prohibited state courts from enforcing racially restrictive real estate covenants
- Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), which invalidated state-enforced racial segregation in the public schools.
As a Justice of the Supreme Court (the nation’s first black Justice) he crafted a “distinctive jurisprudence marked by uncompromising liberalism.” In every case during his twenty-four year tenure as Justice, he voted to uphold gender and racial affirmative action policies and disagreed when the Supreme Court failed to overturn a death sentence.
Learn more about the man who argued more cases before the Supreme Court than anyone else in history:
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