Marshall, Thurgood (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, saw law as a catalyst for social change. For nearly 60 years, as both a lawyer and a jurist, Marshall worked to dismantle the system of SEGREGATION and improve the legal and social position of minorities.
Marshall was born July 2, 1908, in Baltimore, the son of a Pullman porter and a schoolteacher. He was a graduate of Lincoln University, a small, all-black college in Pennsylvania, and Howard University Law School in Washington, D.C. At Howard, Marshall excelled under the guidance of Vice Dean CHARLES HAMILTON HOUSTON, the first African American to win a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Houston encouraged his students to become not just lawyers but "social engineers" who could use the legal system to improve society. Marshall graduated first in his law class in 1933.
Marshall's attendance at predominantly black Howard University illustrates the barriers faced by African Americans during the early twentieth century. Although Marshall wished to attend law school at the University of Maryland (a public institution in his home town of Baltimore), he was prohibited by law from doing so because of his race. This injustice helped set Marshall on a course of opposing all forms of official segregation that denied equal opportunities to African...
(The entire section is 1098 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!