Thurgood Marshall
Kewaski Williams
February 28, 20171000000
February 28, 2017

Thurgood Marshall was the first black supreme court justice to be appointed. " Thurgood Marshall was born on July 2, 1908, in Baltimore, Maryland. His father, William Marshall, the grandson of a slave, worked as a steward at an exclusive club. His mother, Norma, was a kindergarten teacher. One of William Marshall's favorite pastimes was to listen to cases at the local courthouse before returning home to rehash the lawyers' arguments with his sons. " ("Thurgood Marshall", 2017) . Marshall excelled academically while in high school and even participated as part of the debate team. " Marshall attended Baltimore's Colored High and Training School (later renamed Frederick Douglass High School), where he was an above-average student and put his finely honed skills of argument to use as a star member of the debate team." ("Thurgood Marshall", 2017) . Marshall went on to attend an HBCU in Pennsylvania. " After graduating from high school in 1926, Marshall attended Lincoln University, a historically black college in Pennsylvania. There, he joined a remarkably distinguished student body that included Kwame Nkrumah, the future president of Ghana; Langston Hughes, the great poet; and Cab Calloway, the famous jazz singer. " ("Thurgood Marshall", 2017)
Marshall struggle to get into law school due to the color of his skin. The struggle that Marshall went through would be what helped Marshall decide on a career. " After graduating from Lincoln with honors in 1930, Marshall applied to the University of Maryland Law School. Despite being overqualified academically, Marshall was rejected because of his race. This firsthand experience with discrimination in education made a lasting impression on Marshall and helped determine the future course of his career. Instead of Maryland, Marshall attended law school in Washington, D.C. at Howard University, another historically black school. The dean of Howard Law School at the time was the pioneering civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall quickly fell under the tutelage of Houston, a notorious disciplinarian and extraordinarily demanding professor. Marshall recalled of Houston, "He would not be satisfied until he went to a dance on the campus and found all of his students sitting around the wall reading law books instead of partying." Marshall graduated magna cum laude from Howard in 1933. " ("Thurgood Marshall", 2017) .
Although Marshall's plans of having his own law firm failed, he made a name for himself working with the NAACP. " After graduating from law school, Marshall briefly attempted to establish his own practice in Baltimore, but without experience he failed to land any significant cases. In 1934, he began working for the Baltimore branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In one of Marshall's first cases—which he argued alongside his mentor, Charles Houston—he defended another well-qualified undergraduate, Donald Murray, who like himself had been denied entrance to the University of Maryland Law School. Marshall and Houston won Murray v. Pearson in January 1936, the first in a long string of cases designed to undermine the legal basis for de jure racial segregation in the United States. " ("Thurgood Marshall", 2017) . Worki ng with NAACP gave Marshall many opportunities and allowed him to make a name for himself. " However, the great achievement of Marshall's career as a civil-rights lawyer was his victory in the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of a group of black parents in Topeka, Kansas on behalf of their children forced to attend all-black segregated schools. Through Brown v. Board, one of the most important cases of the 20th century, Marshall challenged head-on the legal underpinning of racial segregation, the doctrine of "separate but equal" established by the 1896 Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal," and therefore racial segregation of public schools violated the equal protection clause of the 14 th Amendment. While enforcement of the Court's ruling proved to be uneven and painfully slow, Brown v. Board provided the legal foundation, and much of the inspiration, for the American Civil Rights Movement that unfolded over