Thurgood Marshall

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For people and institutions etc. named after Thurgood Marshall, see Thurgood Marshall (disambiguation).
Thurgood Marshall
Thurgood-marshall-2.jpg
Marshall in 1976
Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court
In office
October 2, 1967[1] – October 1, 1991
Nominated by Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by Tom C. Clark
Succeeded by Clarence Thomas
32nd United States Solicitor General
In office
August 1965 – August 1967
President Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by Archibald Cox
Succeeded by Erwin N. Griswold
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
In office
August 1961 – August 1965
Nominated by John F. Kennedy
Preceded by New Seat
Succeeded by Wilfred Feinberg
Personal details
Born (1908-07-02)July 2, 1908
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Died January 24, 1993(1993-01-24) (aged 84)
Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.
Spouse(s) Vivien "Buster" Burey (1929–1955) (her death)
Cecilia Suyat (1955–1993) (his death)
Children Thurgood Marshall, Jr.
Alma mater Lincoln University
Howard University School of Law
Religion Episcopalian

Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993) was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, serving from October 1967 until October 1991. Marshall was the Court's 96th justice and its first African American justice.

Before becoming a judge, Marshall was a lawyer who was best known for his high success rate in arguing before the Supreme Court and for the victory in Brown v. Board of Education, a decision that desegregated public schools. He served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit after being appointed by President John F. Kennedy and then served as the Solicitor General after being appointed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. President Johnson nominated him to the United States Supreme Court in 1967.

Early life

Henry Highland Garnet School (P.S. 103), where Marshall attended elementary school

Marshall was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 2, 1908. He was the great-grandson of a slave who was born in the modern-day Democratic Republic of the Congo;[2][3] his grandfather was also a slave.[4] His original name was Thoroughgood, but he shortened it to Thurgood in second grade because he disliked spelling it. His father, William Marshall, who was a railroad porter, and his mother Norma, a teacher, instilled in him an appreciation for the United States Constitution and the rule of law.[5]

Education

Marshall attended Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore and was placed in the class with the best students. He graduated a year early in 1925 with a B-grade average, and placed in the top third of the class. Subsequently he went to Lincoln University. It is commonly reported that he intended to study medicine and become a dentist. But according to his application to Lincoln University,[6] Marshall stated that his goal was to become a lawyer. Among his classmates were poet Langston Hughes and musician Cab Calloway. Initially he did not take his studies seriously, and was suspended twice for hazing and pranks against fellow students.[7][8] He was not politically active at first, becoming a "star" of the debating team[8] and in his freshman year opposed the integration of African-American professors at the university.[7] Hughes later described him as "rough and ready, loud and wrong".[9] In his second year he got involved in a sit-in protest against segregation at a local movie theatre. In this same year, he was initiated as a member of the first black fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha.[10] His marriage to Vivien Burey in September 1929 encouraged him to take his studies seriously, and he graduated from Lincoln with honors (cum laude) Bachelor of Arts in Humanities, with a major in American literature and philosophy.[8]

Marshall wanted to study in his hometown law school, the University of Maryland School of Law, but did not apply because of the school's segregation policy. Marshall instead attended Howard University School of Law, where he worked harder than he had at Lincoln and his views on discrimination were heavily influenced by the dean Charles Hamilton Houston.[8] In 1933, he graduated first in his class at Howard.[11]

Marriage and family

Marshall was married twice. He married Vivien "Buster" Burey in 1929. After her death in February 1955, Marshall married Cecilia Suyat in December of that year. They were married until he died in 1993, having two sons together:[12] Thurgood Marshall, Jr., a former top aide to President Bill Clinton; and John W. Marshall, a former United States Marshals Service Director and Virginia Secretary of Public Safety.

Law career

Thurgood Marshall in 1936 at the beginning of his career with the NAACP

After graduating from law school, Marshall started a private law practice in Baltimore. He began his 25 year affiliation with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1934 by representing the organization in the law school discrimination suit Murray v. Pearson. In 1936, Marshall became part of the national staff of the NAACP.[11]

In Murray v. Pearson, Marshall represented Donald Gaines Murray, a black Amherst College graduate with excellent credentials, who was denied admission to the University of Maryland Law School because of its segregation policy. Black students in Maryland wanting to study law had to attend segregated establishments, Morgan College, the Princess Anne Academy, or out-of-state black institutions. Using the strategy developed by Nathan Margold, Marshall argued that Maryland's segregation policy violated the "separate but equal" doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson because the state did not provide a comparable educational opportunity at a state-run black institution.[13] The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled against the state of Maryland and its Attorney General, who represented the University of Maryland, stating, "Compliance with the Constitution cannot be deferred at the will of the state. Whatever system is adopted for legal education must furnish equality of treatment now."[14]

Chief Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

At the age of 32, Marshall won U.S. Supreme Court case Chambers v. Florida, 309 U.S. 227 (1940). That same year, he founded and became the executive director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.[15] As the head of the Legal Defense Fund, he argued many other civil rights cases before the Supreme Court, most of them successfully, including Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649 (1944); Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948); Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629 (1950); and McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, 339 U.S. 637 (1950). His most famous case as a lawyer was Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), the case in which the Supreme Court ruled that "separate but equal" public education, as established by Plessy v. Ferguson, was not applicable to public education because it could never be truly equal. In total, Marshall won 29 out of the 32 cases he argued before the Supreme Court.

During the 1950s, Thurgood Marshall developed a friendly relationship with J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 1956, for example, he privately praised Hoover's campaign to discredit T.R.M. Howard, a maverick civil rights leader from Mississippi. During a national speaking tour, Howard criticized the FBI's failure to seriously investigate cases such as the 1955 killers of George W. Lee and Emmett Till. In a private letter to Hoover, Marshall "attacked Howard as a 'rugged individualist' who did not speak for the NAACP."[16] Two years earlier Howard arranged for Marshall to deliver a well-received speech at a rally of his Regional Council of Negro Leadership in Mound Bayou, Mississippi only days before the Brown decision.[17] According to historians David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito, “Marshall’s disdain for Howard was almost visceral. [He] 'disliked Howard’s militant tone and maverick stance' and 'was well aware that Hoover’s attack served to take the heat off the NAACP and provided opportunities for closer collaboration [between the NAACP and the FBI] in civil rights.'"[16]

Court of Appeals and Solicitor General

President John F. Kennedy appointed Marshall to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1961 to a new seat created on May 19, 1961, by 75 Stat. 80. A group of Senators from the South, led by Mississippi's James Eastland, held up his confirmation, so he served for the first several months under a recess appointment. Marshall remained on that court until 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him to be the United States Solicitor General, the first African American to hold the office.[18] As Solicitor General, he won 14 out of the 19 cases that he argued for the government.

U.S. Supreme Court

Thurgood Marshall photographed in 1967 in the Oval Office

On June 13, 1967, President Johnson nominated Marshall to the Supreme Court following the retirement of Justice Tom C. Clark, saying that this was "the right thing to do, the right time to do it, the right man and the right place." Marshall was confirmed as an Associate Justice by a Senate vote of 69–11 on August 30, 1967.[19] He was the 96th person to hold the position, and the first African American. President Johnson confidently predicted to one biographer, Doris Kearns Goodwin, that a lot of black baby boys would be named "Thurgood" in honor of this choice.[20]

Marshall served on the Court for the next 24 years, compiling a liberal record that included strong support for Constitutional protection of individual rights, especially the rights of criminal suspects against the government. His most frequent ally on the Court (the pair rarely voted at odds) was Justice William Brennan, who consistently joined him in supporting abortion rights and opposing the death penalty. Brennan and Marshall concluded in Furman v. Georgia that the death penalty was, in all circumstances, unconstitutional, and never accepted the legitimacy of Gregg v. Georgia, which ruled four years later that the death penalty was constitutional in some circumstances. Thereafter, Brennan or Marshall dissented from every denial of certiorari in a capital case and from every decision upholding a sentence of death.[citation needed]

In 1987, Marshall gave a controversial speech on the occasion of the bicentennial celebrations of the Constitution of the United States.[21] Marshall stated:

The government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and major social transformations to attain the system of constitutional government and its respect for the freedoms and individual rights, we hold as fundamental today.[22]

In conclusion Marshall stated:

Some may more quietly commemorate the suffering, struggle, and sacrifice that has triumphed over much of what was wrong with the original document, and observe the anniversary with hopes not realized and promises not fulfilled. I plan to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution as a living document, including the Bill of Rights and the other amendments protecting individual freedoms and human rights.[22]

Although best remembered for jurisprudence in the fields of civil rights and criminal procedure, Marshall made significant contributions to other areas of the law as well. In Teamsters v. Terry, he held that the Seventh Amendment entitled the plaintiff to a jury trial in a suit against a labor union for breach of duty of fair representation. In TSC Industries, Inc. v. Northway, Inc., he articulated a formulation for the standard of materiality in United States securities law that is still applied and used today. In Cottage Savings Association v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, he weighed in on the income tax consequences of the Savings and Loan crisis, permitting a savings and loan association to deduct a loss from an exchange of mortgage participation interests. In Personnel Administrator MA v. Feeney, Marshall wrote a dissent saying that a law that gave hiring preference to veterans over non-veterans was unconstitutional because of its inequitable impact on women.

Among his many law clerks were attorneys who went on to become judges themselves, such as Judge Douglas Ginsburg of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; Judge Ralph Winter of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit; Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan; as well as notable law professors Dan Kahan, Cass Sunstein, Eben Moglen, Susan Low Bloch, Rick Pildes, Paul Gewirtz, and Mark Tushnet (editor of Thurgood Marshall: His Speeches, Writings, Arguments, Opinions and Reminiscences); and law school deans Paul Mahoney of University of Virginia School of Law, Martha Minow of Harvard Law School, and Richard Revesz of New York University School of Law.

Marshall retired from the Supreme Court in 1991 and was reportedly unhappy that it would fall to President George H. W. Bush to name his replacement.[23] Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to replace Marshall.

Death and legacy

U.S. circuit judges Robert A. Katzmann, Damon J. Keith, and Sonia Sotomayor (later Associate Justice) at a 2004 exhibit on the Fourteenth Amendment, Thurgood Marshall, and Brown v. Board of Education
Video commemorating Thurgood Marshall's life with the screening of Thurgood, a play starring Laurence Fishburne at the White House as part of Black History Month 2011. The Video discusses Marshall's life and legacy.

Audio only version.

Problems playing these files? See media help.

Marshall died of heart failure at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, at 2:58 pm on January 24, 1993, at the age of 84. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[24] His second wife and their two sons survived him.

Marshall left all his personal papers and notes to the Library of Congress. The Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, opened Marshall's papers for immediate use by scholars, journalists and the public, insisting that this was Marshall's intent. The Marshall family and several of his close associates disputed this claim.[25] The decision to make the documents public was supported by the American Library Association.[26] A list of the archived manuscripts is available.[27]

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (left) and Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler talk in Lawyer's Mall, near a statue of Thurgood Marshall (October 2007).

There are numerous memorials to Marshall. One, an eight-foot statue, stands in Lawyers Mall adjacent to the Maryland State House. The statue, dedicated on October 22, 1996, depicts Marshall as a young lawyer and is placed just a few feet away from where the Old Maryland Supreme Court Building stood; the court where Marshall argued discrimination cases leading up to the Brown decision.[28] The primary office building for the federal court system, located on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., is named in honor of Justice Marshall and contains a statue of him in the atrium. In 1976, Texas Southern University renamed its law school after the sitting justice.[29] In 1980, the University of Maryland School of Law opened a new library which it named the Thurgood Marshall Law Library.[30] In 2000, the historic Twelfth Street YMCA Building located in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. was renamed the Thurgood Marshall Center. The major airport serving Baltimore and the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, was renamed the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on October 1, 2005. The 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church added Marshall to the church's liturgical calendar of "Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints," designating May 17 as his feast day.[31] His membership of the Lincoln University fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha is to be memorialized by a sculpture by artist Alvin Pettit in 2013.[32]

The University of California, San Diego, renamed its Third College after Thurgood Marshall in 1993.[33] Marshall Middle School in Olympia, Washington, is also named after Thurgood Marshall, as is Thurgood Marshall Academy in Washington, D.C.

In 2006, Thurgood, a one-man play written by George Stevens, Jr., premiered at the Westport Country Playhouse, starring James Earl Jones and directed by Leonard Foglia.[34] Later it opened Broadway at the Booth Theatre on April 30, 2008, starring Laurence Fishburne.[35] On February 24, 2011, HBO screened a filmed version of the play which Fishburne performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The production was described by the Baltimore Sun as "one of the most frank, informed and searing discussions of race you will ever see on TV.".[36][37] On February 16, 2011, a screening of the film was hosted by the White House as part of its celebrations of Black History Month[38][39] A painting of Justice Thurgood by Chaz Guest currently hangs at the White House.[40][41]

Thurgood Marshall Award

The Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico instituted[42] in 1993 the annual Thurgood Marshall Award, given to the top student in civil rights at each of Puerto Rico's four law schools. It includes a $500 monetary award. The awardees are selected by the Commonwealth's Attorney General.

Timeline

Marshall in 1957

For more, see Watson (2003).

Books authored

  • Marshall, Thurgood; Tushnet, Mark V. (Editor); and Kennedy, Randall (Forward by). (2001). Thurgood Marshall: His Speeches, Writings, Arguments, Opinions and Reminiscences. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated – Lawrence Hill Books. ISBN 978-1-55652-386-1. 

See also


Notes

  1. ^ "Members of the Supreme Court of the United States". Supreme Court of the United States. Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  2. ^ Kallen (1993), p. 8
  3. ^ Lewis, Neil (June 28, 1991). "A Slave's Great-Grandson Who Used Law to Lead the Rights Revolution". The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2010. 
  4. ^ GMU. "Thurgood Marshall, Supreme Court Justice". Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  5. ^ "A Thurgood Marshall Timeline" A Deeper Shade of Black.
  6. ^ Gibson, Larry S. (2012). Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice. Prometheus Books. p. 84. ISBN 9781616145712. 
  7. ^ a b Skocpol, Theda (February 18, 2011). "Foreword". In Hughey, Matthew Windust; Parks, Gregory. Black Greek-Letter Organizations 2.0: New Directions in the Study of African American Fraternities and Sororities [Hardcover] (1 ed.). Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. pp. xiii, xiv, xvi. ISBN 1604739215. 
  8. ^ a b c d Starks, Glenn; Erik Brooks, F. (2012). Thurgood Marshall. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313349171. page 7 & 8
  9. ^ Nazel, Joseph. Thurgood Marshall: Supreme Court Justice. Los Angeles: Melrose Square Pub, 1993. p. 57. ISBN 0870675842. Retrieved September 27, 2012.  ISBN 9780870675843
  10. ^ Parks, Gregory S., Editor; Bradley, Stefan M. (2012). Alpha Phi Alpha: A Legacy of Greatness, The Demands of Transcendence. University of Kentucky Press. pp. xiv, 167, 233, 236, 1239, 256, 376. ISBN 978-0813134215. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Biographies of the Robes: Thurgood Marshall". PBS. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  12. ^ American Public Radio: Cissy Marshall
  13. ^ Lomotey, Kofi (2010). Encyclopedia of African American Education. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE. ISBN 978-1-4129-4050-4. 
  14. ^ Kluger, Richard (2004). Simple justice : the history of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's struggle for equality (1st Vintage Books ed. ed.). New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-1400030613. 
  15. ^ "Biographies: NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., Teaching Judicial History, fjc.gov".  http://www.fjc.gov/history/home.nsf/page/tu_bush_bio_naacp.html
  16. ^ a b Root, Damon (March 20, 2009) A Forgotten Civil Rights Hero, Reason
  17. ^ David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito, Black Maverick: T.R.M. Howard's Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009), 132–35, 157–58.
  18. ^ "Civil Rights Giant and First Black Supreme Court Justice Honored on 2003 Black Heritage Series Stamp". United States Postal Service. August 7, 2002. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  19. ^ Graham, Fred P. (August 31, 1967) Senate Confirms Marshall As the First Negro Justice; 10 Southerners Oppose High Court Nominee in 69-to-11 Vote. New York Times.
  20. ^ Kearns's research of birth records in New York and Boston indicates that Johnson's prophecy did not come true. According to the Social Security Administration Popular baby name database, Thurgood has never been in the top 1000 of male baby names.
  21. ^ Tinsley E. Yarbrough (2000). The Rehnquist Court and the Constitution. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 978-0-19-510346-5. Retrieved May 1, 2009. 
  22. ^ a b ThurgoodMarshall.com, Speeches. Constitutional Speech, May 6, 1987. Retrieved on April 7, 2009.
  23. ^ Lee Epstein, Jeffrey Allan Segal (2005). Advice and consent: the politics of judicial appointments. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 978-0-19-530021-5. Retrieved August 13, 2009. 
  24. ^ See generally, Christensen, George A. (1983) Here Lies the Supreme Court: Gravesites of the Justices, Yearbook at the Wayback Machine (archived September 3, 2005) Supreme Court Historical Society.
  25. ^ Lewis, Neil A. (May 26, 1993). "Chief Justice Assails Library On Release of Marshall Papers". New York Times. Retrieved December 17, 2007. 
  26. ^ American Library Association statement of support.
  27. ^ Cartledge, Connie L., assisted by Allyson H. Jackson, Susie H. Moody, Andrew M. Passett, and Robert A. Vietrogoski, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., Thurgood Marshall: A Register of His Papers in the Library of Congress (2001)
  28. ^ "Thurgood Marshall Memorial". Maryland Archives. Retrieved March 25, 2011. 
  29. ^ [1][dead link]
  30. ^ Thurgood Marshall Law Library, University of Maryland School of Law
  31. ^ NEW YORK: St. Philip's celebrates Thurgood Marshall feast day, [2].
  32. ^ "Thurgood Marshall Monument". Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, Nu Chapter. 2012. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  33. ^ Schmidt, Steve (October 3, 1993). "UCSD ceremony dedicates Marshall College". San Diego Union-Tribune. p. B.1.5.7. Retrieved November 1, 2010. 
  34. ^ Rizzo, Frank (May 14, 2006). "Thurgood". Variety. Variety. Retrieved January 2, 2012. 
  35. ^ BWW (October 24, 2007). "Laurence Fishburne is 'Thurgood' on Broadway Spring 2008". broadwayworld.com. Retrieved March 9, 2008. 
  36. ^ Zurawik, David (February 18, 2011). "HBO's 'Thurgood' is an exceptional look at race and the law". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved January 2, 2012. 
  37. ^ "Marshall at IMDB.com". IMDB. February 28, 2011. Retrieved January 2, 2012. 
  38. ^ White House (February 24, 2011). "White House Screening of "Thurgood"". US Federal Government. Retrieved January 2, 2012. 
  39. ^ McPeak, Joaquin (February 16, 2011). "City of Sacramento Press Release". Office of Mayor Kevin Johnson, City of Sacramento. Retrieved January 2, 2012. 
  40. ^ CBS News, Whitney Drolen reports. "Local Artist Has Painting Hanging In The White House, Chaz Guest painted a portrait of the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall - VIDEO". 
  41. ^ Mary Ann Akers. "Artist Paints Portrait of 'President Obama'". 
  42. ^ Legislative Service Bureau, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
  43. ^ NAACP Spingarn Medal
  44. ^ http://www.jeffersonawards.org/pastwinners/national

Further reading

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
New seat
Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
1962–1965
Succeeded by
Wilfred Feinberg
Preceded by
Archibald Cox
Solicitor General
1965–1967
Succeeded by
Erwin N. Griswold
Preceded by
Tom C. Clark
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
October 2, 1967 – October 1, 1991
Succeeded by
Clarence Thomas