Friday, July 3, 2009

Thurgood Marshall

By: Kris Lasko
HS 129, Summer 1 2009

In the mid 20th century while Malcolm X preached of “bloody overthrow” of the injustices toward black people, and while Martin Luther King Junior was staging non-violent civil rights protests, Thurgood Marshall was fighting in court to break the bonds of the racist Jim Crow Laws. [1] Thurgood Marshall was born on July 2, 1908 in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated at the top of his class from a historically black college called Lincoln University. Immediately after graduation he attended Howard University Law School, where he met his long time mentor named Charles Hamilton Houston. It was with this mentor that Thurgood Marshall sought to overturn the 1898 court case of Plessy v. Ferguson.[2]

I chose to post about Thurgood Marshall because he is a native of Maryland, and he has a local school named after him that is called Thurgood Marshall Elementary School. This school is in Gaithersburg, MD, and it’s located at 12260 McDonald Chapel Drive. Although I did not attend this school I do have many friends whom went there. One friend named Neal said that he remembers in one of his classes that he learned a little history about Thurgood Marshall. The picture of the school is from

Thurgood Marshall has other honors than just schools that are named after him. There is a Thurgood Marshall memorial located in Annapolis, Maryland. At this memorial there is a bronze bust of Thurgood Marshall. The picture is from this website:

Thurgood Marshall is most well-known for his perseverance and victory as a lawyer in the Supreme Court case named Brown V. Board of Education held in 1951. This case led to the legal integration of school systems and denied that “separate, but equal” from Plessy V. Ferguson was indeed, not equal. Thurgood Marshall argued that the 14th amendment provided equal protection under the law, and that this includes African-Americans. After winning this landmark case, Thurgood Marshall helped to spark the civil rights movement.[3] Winning this case seems to deem naming a school after him a perfectly fitting honor.

Thurgood Marshall has done more than just one win landmark case. In his lifetime he has: been Chief Counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored people, helped draft a constitution for the emerging nations of Ghana and Tanzania, served as a judge on the U.S Court of Appeals, and served as Justice on the United States Supreme Court.2

Future generations should remember the perseverance of Thurgood Marshall and how he never lost track of his goal to gain equal rights for African-Americans in the United States. African-Americans have the strongest sense of actualization of goals and historians should document this accordingly. African-Americans have come from slavery to centuries of protests and standing up for their rights and accepting nothing but success in gaining equal rights as people in the United States of America.

[1] Williams, Juan. "Introduction to the Book." Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary. 4 June 2009.
[2] "Thurgood Marshall, Supreme Court Justice." Thurgood Marshall Biography. Thurgood Marshall College. 5 June 2009
[3] "About the Case." Brown vs. Board of Education. 11 Apr. 2004. Brown Foundation for Educational Equity. 5 June 2009
2 "Thurgood Marshall, Supreme Court Justice." Thurgood Marshall Biography. Thurgood Marshall College. 5 June 2009

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