Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall, 1908–93, U.S. lawyer and associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1967–91), b. Baltimore. He received his law degree from Howard Univ. in 1933. In 1936 he joined the legal staff of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. As its chief counsel (1938–61), he argued more than 30 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, successfully challenging racial segregation, most notably in higher education. His presentation of the argument against the "separate but equal" doctrine achieved its greatest impact with the landmark decision handed down in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954). His appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1961 was opposed by some Southern senators and was not confirmed until 1962. President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him to the Supreme Court two years later; he was the first black to sit on the high court, where he consistently supported the position taken by those challenging discrimination based on race or sex, opposed the death penalty, and supported the rights of criminal defendants. His support for affirmative action led to his strong dissent in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978). As appointments by Presidents Nixon and Reagan changed the outlook of the Court, Marshall found himself increasingly in the minority; in retirement he was outspoken in his criticism of the court.

See biography by J. Williams (1998); studies by R. W. Bland (1973) and H. Ball (1999); R. Kluger, Simple Justice (1976).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Thurgood Marshall: His Speeches, Writings, Arguments, Opinions, and Reminiscences
Thurgood Marshall; Mark V. Tushnet.
Lawrence Hill Books, 2001
Making Civil Rights Law: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court, 1936-1961
Mark V. Tushnet.
Oxford University Press, 1994
Justice Thurgood Marshall and Capital Punishment: Social Justice and the Rule of Law
Fitzpatrick, Tracy B.
American Criminal Law Review, Vol. 32, No. 4, Summer 1995
A Representative Supreme Court? The Impact of Race, Religion, and Gender on Appointments
Barbara A. Perry.
Greenwood Press, 1991
Librarian’s tip: "Thurgood Marshall" begins on p. 96
Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall's African Journey
Mary L. Dudziak.
Princeton University Press, 2011 (New edition)
Tributes
Carter, Stephen L.; Coleman, William T., Jr.; Gewirtz, Paul; Motley, Constance Baker; Winter, Ralph K.
The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 101, No. 1, October 1991
Distinguished African American Political and Governmental Leaders
James Haskins.
Oryx Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Thurgood Marshall" begins on p. 159
Hearts and Minds: A Personal Chronicle of Race in America
Harry S. Ashmore.
Seven Locks Press, 1988 (Revised edition)
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Thurgood Marshall begins on p. 154
Fight for Freedom: The Story of the NAACP
Langston Hughes.
W. W. Norton, 1962
Librarian’s tip: "Mr. Desegregation" begins on p. 127
The Civil Rights Movement
Peter B. Levy.
Greenwood Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993)" begins on p. 137
Historical Dictionary of School Segregation and Desegregation: The American Experience
Jeffrey A. Raffel.
Greenwood Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "Marshall, Thurgood" begins on p. 155
African-American Orators: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook
Richard W. Leeman.
Greenwood Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "Thurgood Marshall: (1908-1993), Lawyer, Supreme Court Justice" begins on p. 249
Thurgood Marshall: Our Supreme Justice
McCoy, Frank.
Black Enterprise, Vol. 23, No. 9, April 1993
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