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African American Firsts: Law

Thurgood Marshall First Black United States Supreme Court Justice

President Johnson nominated Marshall as associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in June of 1967; he was confirmed by the Senate in August of 1967 and was seated, at age 59, on October 2, 1967. Marshall became the first African American justice on the Supreme Court, serving from 1967 to 1991. 

In a career that spanned 58 years, Marshall achieved an enormous amount. His legal work in the civil rights movement demolished the intellectual and legal basis for the system of racial segregation. His work helped to establish a new standard of racial equality and equal opportunity. In his long career, Marshall evolved from civil rights lawyer to civil rights leader to national figure as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Harvard University law professor Randall Kennedy, as quoted in the February 4, 1993, Detroit News, believes that "some of Justice Marshall's opinions . . . are far reaching and prophetic utterances and will be validated by historians looking back a century hence."


From the book, Notable Black American Men

(Available from Biography Resource Center, a premium library resource)



Books available at your library

Thurgood Marshall: his speeches, writings, arguments, opinions and reminiscences 


Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary by Juan Williams


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