First African American Supreme Court Justice 1967
Thurgood Marshall became the first African American member of the Supreme Court (after the Senate confirmed Johnson's nomination of Marshall to the court). Marshall had been the NAACP lawyer who argued Brown v. Board of Education in front of the Supreme Court in 1954.
Thurgood Marshall was born in Baltimore Maryland on July 2, 1908. His family descended from slaves on both sides. His Mother was a teacher and his Father was a railroad worker. His Father took Thurgood and his brothers to listen to court cases. Later they would debate those cases and current events over dinner. Marshall went to public elementary and high school and wen ton to Lincoln University a Black College in Pennsylvania. Marshall went on to Howard University School of law were he finished first in his class.
After graduating law school Marshall established his own law firm. He began working for National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP in 1934. In 1936 he became par to their staff. One of his early victories was in the case of Murray v Pearson, and African American student who wanted to attend the then segregated University of Maryland Law School. He successfully argued that the alternative all African American law school was not has good as the University of Maryland school and thus did not fit the Plessey case of “separate but equal.”
At the age of 32 he one his first Supreme Court case Chambers v Florida. Marshall founded and headed the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.. He successfully argued many cases in front of the Supreme Court. The most memorable was Brown v Board of Education. That victory ended Separate but Equal as a legal justification for discrimination and formed the basis of integrating schools throughout the US.
President Kennedy appointed Marshall to the United States Court of Appeals, and President Johnson appointed him the Solicitor General of the United States. As Solicitor General he won 14 out of the 19 cases he argued.
On June 13 1967 President Johnson nominated Marshall to the US Supreme Court. He was confirmed by a Senate Vote of 69-11. On October 2 he was sworn in has the 96th Associate Justice in history.
Marshall served on the court for 24 years. He was a strong liberal voice on the court and wrote many opinions in the areas of civil rights and criminal procedure. Marshall retired in 1991.