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See the fact file below for more information on Thurgood Marshall or alternatively, you can download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
- Thurgood Marshall was born on July 2, 1908, in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the son of William Marshall, a railroad porter, and Norma Marshall, a kindergarten teacher. His grandfather was a slave who escaped the South during the Civil War.
- Young Thurgood attended Baltimore’s Colored High and Training School. He was a bright student with skills in debating. In 1926, he enrolled at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, he pursued higher education at the Howard University School of Law and graduated magna cum laude in 1933. This, after he was rejected at the University of Maryland due to racial segregation.
Marshall’s Law Career
- Marshall started private practice of law in Baltimore. In 1934, he became the chief counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the Murray v. Pearson case. It was a school discrimination case of an African-American student, Donald Murray, whose admission to the University of Maryland was denied because of segregation laws. Marshall won the case.
- In 1940, Marshall won his first case before the Supreme Court in the Chambers v. Florida case. He defended four African-Americans who were convicted of murder after police coerced confessions.
- Another victory came in 1944 in the Smith v. Allwright case. As a result, the Democratic Party’s white only elections in the South was prohibited.
- The Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case in 1954 was a great victory for Marshall and the whole civil rights community. It challenged the 1896 Supreme Court decision over the Plessy v. Ferguson case.
- The case was a lawsuit filed by African-American parents in Topeka, Kansas after the forced admission of their children in a colored-only segregated school.
- On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, violating the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
- The Supreme Court stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” challenging the “separate but equal” doctrine of 1896. It established Thurgood Marshall as one of the most prominent civil rights lawyer in the United States.
- In 1961, Thurgood Marshall was appointed as a judge for the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals by President John F. Kennedy. For four years, he issued over 100 decisions, none were overturned by the Supreme Court.
- By 1965, he became the first African-American solicitor general upon the appointment of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Marshall won 14 out of 19 cases for the federal government.
- On October 2, 1967, Marshall was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice, a first for African-Americans. As a Supreme Court Justice, Marshall supported the liberal rulings over cases such as the 1972 Furman v. Georgia case and 1973 Roe v. Wade case.
- He supported the majority ruling in favor of the right to abortion. Furthermore, Marshall articulated his position opposing the death penalty.
- After 24 years of tenure, Justice Marshall retired in 1991 and was replaced by Justice Clarence Thomas.
Legacy and Death
- Thurgood Marshall worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Among the three, he was the least celebrated but the most instrumental in the fight for racial equality. He used the law and the Constitution to break racial barriers in many aspects of American society.
- On January 24, 1993, Thurgood Marshall died of heart failure at the age of 85.
Thurgood Marshall Worksheets
This bundle includes 11 ready-to-use Thurgood Marshall worksheets that are perfect for students to learn about Thurgood Marshall who was a civil rights lawyer, judge, and the first African-American Supreme Court Justice.
This download includes the following worksheets:
- Thurgood Marshall Facts
- Mr. Civil Rights
- Civil Rights Activists
- Matching Court Cases
- Famous Firsts
- Legal Vocabulary
- Case Closed
- It’s Marshall!
- Fact Webbing
- Events Organizer
- American Schools Today
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Link will appear as Thurgood Marshall Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, February 1, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
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