Thurgood Marshall: Start

Thurgood Marshall, a trailblazer, in the Supreme Court

What's in this Guide

Learn about Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice -- one of the giants of the civil rights movement, and one of the most courageous and transforming Supreme Court Justices of the twentieth century.

Photo Source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division,
Visual Materials from the NAACP Records [reproduction number, e.g. LC-USZ62-123456]

 During his career as a lawyer, he was able to expand civil rights for individual Americans. To learn more about this great man click on the links below or on the tabs above:


Nomination to the Supreme Court

President Johnson nominating Thurgood Marshall as Supreme Court Justice

On June 13, 1967, President Lyndon Johnson nominated Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court. Click on the Presidential Recordings Program below to listen to taped conversations between President Johnson and Thurgood Marshall between 1965 and 1967. These are from the University of Virginia's Miller Center as part of their Presidential Recordings Program.

Thurgood Marshall's Influence on His Fellow Justices

Thurgood Marshall used to talk about race, too. His colleagues listened.  Sandra Day O'Connor famously explained in an essay that his stories about the Jim Crow South changed how she and several of her colleagues approached the law.  "Justice Marshall imparted not only his legal acumen, but also his life experiences," O'Connor wrote, "constantly pushing and prodding us to respond not only to the persuasiveness of legal argument but also to the power of moral truth."

page 85, found in The Supreme Court, Vol. 87, No. 1, of The Reference Shelf Series, 2015. Quote taken from Dalia Lithwick's November 13, 2014 article in The New Republic, "Yale, Harvard, Yale, Harvard, Yale, Harvard, Harvard, Harvard, Columbia: The Thing That Scares Me Most about the Supreme Court."

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