Today we celebrate Thurgood Marshall, who was the first African-American Supreme Court Justice of the United States. A Picture Book of Thurgood Marshall tells the story of how Marshall became one of the most influential trailblazers in American history.
As a child, Thurgood Marshall’s school principal would make him memorize the constitution as a punishment when he got in trouble. Marshall was also introduced to the law by his father, the first African-American to serve on a Baltimore jury HIs father enjoyed the law so much, and would sit in on court sessions where he would bring young Thurgood to listen and learn how to debate.
Marshall first attended college at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, an all-male, all-black college at the time. At Lincoln, he once took part in a silent protest of an all-white theatre. He graduated and hoped to go to University of Maryland, but it was an all-white institution at the time, and he instead went to the law school at Howard University in Washington, DC.
After graduating from Howard University, Marshall began a career at the NAACP, and within three years he became the chief lawyer of the organization. His career at the NAACP brings him several courtroom victories including arguing to for the University of Maryland to admit African-Americans, a case he argued and won with Charles Hamilton Houston.
Thurgood’s most notable achievement however would be winning the historic Brown v. Board of Education case, resulting in the decision to de-segregate public schools in the United States. Marshall would go on to win twenty-nine of the thirty-two cases he argued to the Supreme Court in his legal career before being nominated for Supreme Court by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967.
A Picture Book of Thurgood Marshall is a great book to introduce young children to prominent African-American heroes. It is a book all children should read so that they know that before there was a Clarence Thomas, or a President Obama, there was a man who fought for African-American rights, who paved the way for the African-American leaders and politicians of today.
A Picture Book of Thurgood Marshall
Author: David A. Adler | Illustrator: Robert Casilla