"Thurgood Marshall was a rebel."(1) His method of activism differed from those of other civil rights leaders of the time. By addressing the courts and using his legal expertise, Marshall was able to have a more direct influence on society and the way government was treating blacks at the time. His use of the of the courts led to rulings that deemed the exclusion of blacks from primary elections, the use of racial profiling in terms of housing, the "separate but equal" mentality concerning working facilities and universities, and especially the segregation of elementary schools unconstitutional. With a resume like that it is no wonder he is still considered one of the most influential of the civil rights activists.
Thurgood Marshall was born in Baltimore, Maryland to an interracial family in an African American community who had been fighting for equal rights since the time of the Civil War. (1) His father, William Canfield Marshall, "was the first black person to serve on a grand jury in Baltimore in the twentieth century". (2) His mother, Norma Arica Marshall, "was one of the first blacks to graduate from Columbia Teacher's College in New York City". (2) After graduating from an all black high school, Thurgood attended Lincoln University in Chester County, Pennsylvania, "the nation's oldest historically black college." (2) He was involved with many protests during his time at the university. After graduating he began studying at the Howard University Law School in Washington, D.C., "and graduated first in his class in 1933". (2)
After law school Marshall moved back to Baltimore and began his career as a lawyer with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. During his ti...
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...e crusade for civil rights and equal opportunity in the whole history of the world. "Although he can properly be called the architect of American race relations in the twentieth century, on the Court he was also a vigorous advocate for protection under the law for women, children prisoners, and the homeless." (1) Being the epitome of an American social worker, Marshall has opened doors for African Americans as well as paved the way for social activism on the inside of the United States Government. The impact he has made on life in America will carry his legacy forever.
1. GoAmerica: people, politics, and policy/ George C. Edwards III
Martin P. Wattenberg, Robert L. Lineberry.—Brief version, 5th ed.