One of the leaders of the US Civil Rights Movement was Thurgood Marshall. His family was brought over to America because his great-grandfather had been sold as a slave. Twice suspended at school for his pranks and practical jokes, he turned away from an expected career as a dentist to have degrees in philosophy and literature and eventually graduated from Harvard Law.
1. A Change In the Name
Thurgood Marshall never really liked his first name. It’s hard to blame him. After all, his parents gave him the name Thoroughgood. Since he had to write out his name at school for every assignment, he eventually just got tired of all the letters he’d have to write. That led him to shorten his name as we know it today.
2. An Important Victory
Marshall might be known for his actions to help further equality, but he also had a dramatic influence on the criminal justice system. At the age of 32, he successfully argued before the Supreme Court of the US that police coercion to solicit a confession couldn’t count as evidence against the person.
3. A Notable First
Marshall quickly rose through the ranks of the judicial system after being appointed to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in 1961. It only took 6 years for him to be nominated to the US Supreme Court, which would make him the first African-American to hold such a position. While he served on the court, one of his law clerks, Elena Kagan, would wind up becoming a justice as well.
4. A Notable Honor
Two years after his death in 1993, President Bill Clinton named Marshall as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It’s the highest honor an American civilian is able to receive from the government.
Thurgood Marshall fought for the rights of everyone, even though he was considered a leader of Civil Rights. True equality means that everyone is able to become better because of our differences instead of being weaker because we separate ourselves because of those differences. Marshall helped to point this fact out through the justice system and his efforts will forever be remembered.