On this day in 1967, Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first African-American justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. By the time of his swearing-in, Marshall was already a towering figure in the national spotlight because of his long work with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the civil rights movement. In fact, his first civil rights victory as an attorney was against the university he hadn’t been allowed to attend. Murray v. Pearson, against the University of Maryland, opened the door to equal education for generations of students to follow. Marshall started working with the NAACP not long after law school and soon became their Chief Counsel, going on to argue many important civil rights cases, most notably Brown v. Board of Education President John F. Kennedy appointed him to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1961; in 1965, he became the first African-American U.S. Solicitor General. On his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, President Lyndon Johnson said it was “the right thing to do, the right time to do it, the right man and the right place.” After Marshall’s retirement in 1991, Clarence Thomas became the second African American Supreme Court justice.
Resources related to Thurgood Marshall’s life and career:
- 20 key facts and three videos
- Marshall’s biography from the Library of Congress
- Timeline of Marshall’s life/career from the Baltimore Sun
- Timeline of U.S. Supreme Court Judges’ Service
- Our related holdings
Related horn-tooting: Georgia Law has an impressive winning record in the annual Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition (Black Law Students Association).