Thurgood Marshall was the first African American Supreme Court Justice in the United States. He was born on July 2, 1908, in Baltimore, Maryland. His name was originally Thorough Good, but in the second grade, he changed it to Thurgood.
As a kid, his father would take him to the local courts. This would inspire him to help others in the legal justice system. Thurgood was rejected from his dream school of the University of Maryland Law School, but he didn’t let that stop him! He ended up graduating with honors from Lincoln University in 1930. He earned his law degree from Howard University.
In 1946, he traveled to Columbia, Tennessee to act as defense for a group of African American men. While there, he was arrested on false charges, but thankfully his colleagues were able to help him.
President John F. Kennedy nominated him to the US Court of Appeals. He was able to fight through the resistance of some Senators and sat on the court. Later, President Johnson would nominate him to the Supreme Court. People at the time doubted the legitimacy of his appointment, but he fought through all that, and on October 2, 1967, Thurgood Marshall became the first Black Supreme Court Justice. He served for 24 years until 1991. On January 24, 1993, he passed.
This video offers a brief biography of Thurgood Marshall. There are many more things to discover about this famous Black leader. This video is a great introduction to him as part of your Black History Month celebration. You can also use this video when teaching about the court system and the branches of government.
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