Thurgood Marshall (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: A brilliant litigator, Marshall was the first African American member of the U.S. Supreme Court. As an advocate and jurist, he had a sustained commitment to equal justice under the law.
Thurgood Marshall was born July 2, 1908, in Baltimore, Maryland. His father, William Canfield Marshall, was employed as a waiter and came to be head steward at the affluent Gibson Island Club on the Chesapeake Bay by the time Marshall reached school age. Marshall’s mother, née Norma Arica Williams, taught in the Baltimore schools for more than thirty years. Both of their families had resided in Maryland for some time. The Marshall family enjoyed a comfortable, stable, middle-class existence. The achievement of this status by a black family less than forty years after the abolition of slavery in the United States is remarkable. Although Maryland, in general, and Baltimore, in particular, were quite well-known for their relatively large free black populations, even modest financial legacies were the exception rather than the rule for most blacks in those decades following the Civil War.
One of Marshall’s great grandfathers had been a slave, and little is known about him. Marshall’s paternal grandfather, Thoroughgood Marshall, served in the United States merchant marine for many years, and his maternal grandfather, Isaiah Olive Branch Williams, also spent a number of years traveling abroad....
(The entire section is 1974 words.)
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