Justice Thurgood Marshall
(1908-1993) Justice Thurgood Marshall was the first African American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Born in Baltimore, Marshall received his undergraduate degree at the historically black Lincoln University in 1925, but in 1930, he was denied admission to the University of Maryland Law School because of his race. Following this rejection, Marshall dedicated most of his professional life to ending segregation.
He attended Howard University School of law, where he studied under Charles Hamilton Houston, who became his mentor. Marshall then worked for the NAACP, assisting on the case that won Donald Gaines Murray admission to the University of Maryland Law School in 1936 (see Murray vs. Pearson). Marshall is remembered as the lawyer who argued Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court in 1954. Marshall became the first African American Solicitor General in 1965, and in 1967, President Johnson appointed him to the U.S. Supreme Court. He retired in 1991 after serving on the bench for twenty-four years. Marshall died of heart failure in 1993, and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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