We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

See Pricing

What's Your Topic?

Hire a Professional Writer Now

The input space is limited by 250 symbols

What's Your Deadline?

Choose 3 Hours or More.
Back
2/4 steps

How Many Pages?

Back
3/4 steps

Sign Up and See Pricing

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Back
Get Offer

Thurgood Marshall and Civil Rights Movement

Hire a Professional Writer Now

The input space is limited by 250 symbols

Deadline:2 days left
"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Write my paper

Thurgood MarshallIntroductionOn June 17, 1991, a pivotal era in the history of the United States Supreme Court, and indeed United States history as a whole came to an end with the retirement from the court of Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Having served to the age of 82 is remarkable enough, but what makes Marshall’s nearly 3 decades on the Court is the fact that Thurgood Marshall was the first African-American to serve on the Court, having been appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967 and before that, serving his nation and his race as a tireless fighter for the cause of civil rights[1].

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Thurgood Marshall and Civil Rights Movement
Just from $13,9/Page
Get custom paper

 Thurgood Marshall was not only a brilliant legal scholar, lawyer, and judge but also has reserved his place in history as a champion for the oppressed and a symbol of the ability of those who face discrimination to overcome the bigotry of others and fight for what the Declaration of Independence promised: liberty, and justice for all, which will be discussed in this research.

  Especially, this research will concentrate on court cases like `Brown vs.

The Board of Education` and others that made Thurgood Marshall the best legal authority in the Civil Rights Movement Era.  Upon conclusion of the research, it will be proven that Thurgood Marshall should be remembered not only as a credit to his race, but also as a credit to the legal profession and as an American patriot in the truest sense. The Evolution of Thurgood MarshallIn order to fully appreciate the achievements of Thurgood Marshall as a legal pioneer of the Civil Rights Era, one must first understand how Thurgood Marshall the person rose up from humble beginnings to achieve what he did in one spectacularly productive lifetime. One would think that Marshall somehow had a privileged upbringing to eventually achieve what he did, but in fact, he came from humble beginnings and attended the Baltimore, Maryland public schools, eventually graduating from Howard Law School in Washington, DC.

Having experienced segregation and prejudice first hand during his college years, he decided upon graduation from law school to return to Baltimore and practice law for the benefit of African-Americans who needed his help.  In many cases, those who needed his help the most were the ones who could not afford to pay for his services; nonetheless, Marshall took on many pro bono cases, realizing that helping those of his race who needed him was more important than acquiring wealth.  Thus, early on, Marshall recognized the importance of helping his fellow African-Americans, many of whom at that time were falsely accused of crimes, brought up on the slimmest of charges, and generally harassed by the white establishment.[2]The work that the young Thurgood Marshall did on behalf of underprivileged, oppressed African-Americans in his native Baltimore soon came to the attention of the NAACP, and Marshall gained a position with the Baltimore  NAACP as assistant special council in 1934.

His outstanding performance in that position led to his promotion to head special council in 1938, travelling throughout the nation in support of NAACP chapters nationwide, eventually winning 32 out of 35 cases he argued before the Supreme Court, and becoming known as one of the top constitutional scholars in the United States of America[3]. Admittedly, the summary of Thurgood Marshall’s early career presented previously is a brief one.  Therefore, the cases that made Marshall the best legal authority in the Civil Rights Movement Era will now be discussed in more detail. Brown vs.

Board of Education and BeyondIn the lives of those who rise to the top of their given field of endeavor, it is possible to look back at the history of those individuals and identify one pivotal moment that set them on the path to fame and recognition.  For Thurgood Marshall, among others that will be discussed, this moment came during the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education, which was not only a key case in the Civil Rights Movement, but also one in the interpretation of the US Constitution itself. To begin, it needs to be stated that the degree of segregation that existed in the United States of the 1950s was quite severe; not only was discrimination a state of mind, it was often required by law, extending into all public facilities, including the public school systems throughout the nation.

While there were schools provided specifically for African-American children, these schools were for the most part inferior to those for their white counterparts.  School segregation remained unchallenged legally since the 1896 case of  Plessy v. Ferguson, which established so called “separate but equal” schools for the races[4].Topeka, Kansas, became  ground zero for the 1950s fight to desegregate public schools when African-American  school girl Linda Brown had to walk one mile through a railroad  yard and across a busy street because she had been denied admission to the much closer white school.

Her father, Oliver, went to the local chapter of the NAACP for help.  Long seeking a chance to challenge school segregation in court, the NAACP agreed to take the case and help the Browns, with Thurgood Marshall leading the legal team.  In 1951, the US District Court of Kansas heard the case and ruled against the NAACP, citing the Plessy case as precedent to support school segregation[5].Marshall wisely recognized that the one case itself would not be strong enough for the upcoming Supreme Court battle; cleverly, he combined the Kansas case with others that challenged school segregation in South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware.

However,  Marshall decided to keep the name of the original Kansas case to show that the issue was rampant throughout America[6].Before the highest court in America, Marshall made the argument that  school segregation was unconstitutional because  denied African-American children equal protection guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, and also that segregation was counterproductive to learning.  The Supreme Court agreed and ruled in favor of Marshall and the NAACP, signifying a major legal victory for African –Americans as a group, the NAACP as an organization, and Thurgood Marshall as a professional attorney[7]. While the Brown case usually receives the biggest amount of attention, Marshall in fact scored a significant Civil Rights victory a decade before.

In 1944, Marshall successfully argued the case of Smith vs. Allwright before the Supreme Court.  Simply put, the result of the case was the banning of the all-white primary elections used by the Democratic Party in Texas and other states under their argument that the party was a private club that could have its own rules.  With Marshall’s expertise, the Court was compelled to disagree[8] By 1960, Thurgood Marshall was a member of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, having been appointed by President John F.

Kennedy not only due his revolutionary work in the Brown case, but also because of his decades of legal work in support of Civil Rights prior to that case.  Within the Court of Appeals, Marshall continued his fight for Civil Rights, issuing decisions on such issues as malicious prosecution of minorities, double jeopardy, illegal search and seizure and invasion of privacy.  In fact, Marshall’s credibility as a Civil Rights champion is evidenced by the fact that none of his 98 rulings in the Court of Appeals was ever overturned[9].  ConclusionIn conclusion, it is clear to see that Thurgood Marshall, from his earliest days as a lawyer for the downtrodden in his native Baltimore, to his days as a highly skilled NAACP legal counsel and right to the Supreme Court of the United States, became perhaps the most aggressive defender of Civil Rights in the nation.

Furthermore, he still serves as a role model for African-Americans to continue to defend their rights and protect their freedom, for it is only when everyone in America is free that the nation itself can thrive and survive.             BibliographyChiasson, L. (Ed.).

(2003). Illusive Shadows: Justice, Media, and Socially Significant American Trials. Westport, CT: Praeger.Friedman, L.

& Israel, F. L. (Eds.).

(1997). Their Lives and Major Opinions Their Lives and Major Opinions (Vol. 4). New York: Chelsea House.

Marshall, T. (2001). His Speeches, Writings, Arguments, Opinions, and Reminiscences His Speeches, Writings, Arguments, Opinions, and Reminiscences (M. V.

Tushnet, Ed.). Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books.Patterson, J.

T. (2001). Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy.

New York: Oxford University Press.Tushnet, M. V. (1994).

Making Civil Rights Law Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court, 1936-1961. New York: Oxford University Press. [1] Friedman, L. & Israel, F.

L. (Eds.). (1997).

Their Lives and Major Opinions Their Lives and Major Opinions (Vol. 4). New York: Chelsea House.[2] Marshall, T.

(2001). His Speeches, Writings, Arguments, Opinions, and Reminiscences His Speeches, Writings, Arguments, Opinions, and Reminiscences (M. V. Tushnet, Ed.

). Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books.[3] Friedman, L. & Israel, F.

L. (Eds.). (1997).

Their Lives and Major Opinions Their Lives and Major Opinions (Vol. 4). New York: Chelsea House.[4] Chiasson, L.

(Ed.). (2003). Illusive Shadows: Justice, Media, and Socially Significant American Trials.

Westport, CT: Praeger.[5] Chiasson, L. (Ed.).

(2003). Illusive Shadows: Justice, Media, and Socially Significant American Trials. Westport, CT: Praeger.[6] Friedman, L.

& Israel, F. L. (Eds.).

(1997). Their Lives and Major Opinions Their Lives and Major Opinions (Vol. 4). New York: Chelsea House.

[7] Tushnet, M. V. (1994). Making Civil Rights Law Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court, 1936-1961.

New York: Oxford University Press.[8] Tushnet, M. V. (1994).

Making Civil Rights Law Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court, 1936-1961. New York: Oxford University Press.[9] Patterson, J. T.

(2001). Brown v. Board of Education: A Civil Rights Milestone and Its Troubled Legacy. New York: Oxford University Press.

Cite this Thurgood Marshall and Civil Rights Movement

Thurgood Marshall and Civil Rights Movement. (2017, Mar 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/thurgood-marshall/

Show less
  • Use multiple resourses when assembling your essay
  • Get help form professional writers when not sure you can do it yourself
  • Use Plagiarism Checker to double check your essay
  • Do not copy and paste free to download essays
Get plagiarism free essay

Search for essay samples now

Haven't found the Essay You Want?

Get my paper now

For Only $13.90/page