Black History Month ended yesterday, that is why I wanted to write about Justice Thurgood Marshall today. It is important to learn about black history not just during black history month, but all year long.
As an African American attorney, Thurgood Marshall is truly a hero for me. As most know, he was the first African American Supreme Court Justice. This is significant to me, because I was recently sworn into the Supreme Court bar as an attorney. I stood proudly as they called my name and I took to oath to practice before the Supreme Court. I sat and listened to a hearing in front of the current Supreme Court Justices. I know not to long ago, I would not have been allowed to witness a hearing, let alone be allowed to be a member of the Supreme Court bar.
Not only was Thurgood Marshall the first African American Supreme Court Justice, but as an attorney he argued the several times before the Supreme Court. His landmark case was, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483. In Brown v. Board of Education, the Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional. Thurgood helped to have the schools integrated.
Thurgood Marshall did so much to help so many people. I recently watched the movie Thurgood, starring Chadwick Boseman who also is the lead in the Marvel Comics film, Black Panther. Watching that movie as an African American attorney gave me so much pride. Since the movie Thurgood was released in 2017, and a lot of people know that Thurgood worked as a lawyer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) travelling across the country defending people of color who were wrongfully accused of crimes because of racial prejudice. Thurgood Marshall was a prepared, determined, courageous black attorney and Justice that helped make my current legal journey possible.
I’d also like to share a few fun facts about Thurgood Marshall that you may have not known:
- True or False?
Thurgood Marshall was denied admission into the University of Maryland School of Law because he was black.
- True or False?
Both Langston Hughes and Thurgood Marshall attended Lincoln University for undergraduate school.
- True or False?
Thurgood Marshall’s name was originally Thurgood Marshall.
- True–Thurgood was denied admission to the University of Maryland School of Law because he was African American. After Thurgood Marshall began practicing, he successfully represented another African-American applicant, Donald Murray, who was denied admission to the University of Maryland School of Law. Many believe Justice Marshall’s denial into University of Maryland helped spark his passion for school desegregation—and his landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education.
- True—Interestingly enough, both, Langston Hughes, a famous poet during the Harlem Renaissance and Thurgood Marshall attended Lincoln University during the same time period.
- False—Thurgood Marshall’s first name was originally Thoroughgood, instead of Thurgood. He legally shortened his name to Thurgood.
I am inspired by Justice Thurgood Marshall. As African American attorneys, we are faced with unique challenges just because of who we are. It is because of trailblazers like Justice Thurgood Marshall that GDH LAW, LLC has become a success.
SHARE this article, so others can learn a new black history fact in MARCH and all year long!
GDH LAW is in Lanham, Md, with a second location in Rockville, MD. GDH LAW represents injured clients due to negligence, business law clients, and civil litigation. This article was written by Gwen-Marie Davis Hicks, Esq., managing partner at GDH Law.