> Commemoration: Thurgood Marshall

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Monday May 17, 2021 All Day
Annually on May 17

Thurgood Marshall

Lawyer and jurist,

d. 1993


Eternal and ever-gracious God, you blessed your servant Thurgood with exceptional grace and courage to discern and speak the truth: Grant that, following his example, we may know you and recognize that we are all your children, brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, who teaches us to love one another; and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

From Holy Women, Holy Men:

Thurgood Marshall was a distinguished American jurist and the first

African American to become an Associate Justice of the United States

Supreme Court.

Marshall was born in 1908. He attended Frederick Douglass High

School in Baltimore and Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. Pushed

toward other professions, Marshall was determined to be an attorney.

He was denied admission to the University of Maryland Law School

due to its segregationist admissions policy. He enrolled and graduated

magna cum laude from the Law School of Howard University in


Marshall began the practice of law in Baltimore in 1933 and began

representing the local chapter of the NAACP in 1934, eventually

becoming the legal counsel for the national organization. He won his

first major civil rights decision in 1936, Murray v. Pearson, which

forced the University of Maryland to open its doors to blacks.

At the age of 32, Marshall successfully argued his first case before the

United States Supreme Court and went on to win 29 of the 32 cases he

argued before the court. As a lawyer, his crowning achievement was

arguing successfully for the plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education

of Topeka, in 1954. The Supreme Court ruled that the “separate but

equal” doctrine was unconstitutional and ordered the desegregation of

public schools across the nation.

President Lyndon Johnson appointed Marshall as the 96th Associate

Justice of the United States Supreme Court in 1967, a position he

held for 24 years. Marshall compiled a long and impressive record

of decisions on civil rights, not only for African Americans, but also

for women, Native Americans, and the incarcerated; he was a strong

advocate for individual freedoms and human rights. He adamantly

believed that capital punishment was unconstitutional and should be


During his years in Washington, Marshall and his family were

members of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, where he was

affectionately known as “The Judge.” He is remembered as “a wise

and godly man who knew his place and role in history and obeyed

God’s call to follow justice wherever it led.”

Source: https://diobeth.typepad.com/files/holy-women-holy-men.pdf

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