Today we honor Thurgood Marshall, a game changer in our country’s courts, as part of Modify’s celebration of Black History Month. Thurgood Marshall was another amazing man that paved the way for civil rights in the judicial system. He was the first African American Justice of the Supreme Court. And he is still very well known for his success rate as a lawyer. One of his most renowned cases was his victory in the Brown v. Board of Education. This was a landmark case for Black History and as a result of this case the “separate but equal” standard in public education was overthrown.
Thurgood Marshall lived from 1908-1993 and his original name at birth was Thoroughgood . He shortened his name to “Thurgood” in second grade because he liked the spelling better. From an early age, his parents taught him to love the constitution and rule of law. Although he once dreamed of becoming a dentist, he did not pursue a medical degree and found his calling with a successful career in law. He fought for human rights and in addition to ending segregation in the public school system, a victory in a separate case ended segregation on buses. It is interesting that on top of his more well-known civil rights victories, he also won a landmark case that established that confessions obtained through police coercion could not be used as evidence.
Thurgood left behind a legacy that is supported by the many memorials in his honor. His personal papers and notes were left to the Library of Congress after his death and were made public for the use of scholars and journalists. After his death, he was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor, which is the highest civilian honor in our country. This is a very fitting and distinguished honor for a man that had such an important role in the civil rights movement.