Justice Thurgood Marshall: Sworn In 51 Years Ago

Who Was Thurgood Marshall?

Today marks 51 years since Justice Thurgood Marshall was sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court on October 2, 1967. Known as one of the most brilliant legal minds in history, he paved the way for many black lawyers and judges to come.

Justice Thurgood Marshall was born on July 2, 1908 in Baltimore, Maryland. His birth name was actually Thorogood Marshall until he shortened it. Marshall graduated with honors from Lincoln University with a degree in literature and philosophy. He later graduated first in his class from Howard University School of Law. Marshall wanted to attend the University of Maryland for law school, but the school’s racial segregation policy prevented him from applying.

The Success of Brown v. Board of Education

Did you know that if it was not for the passing of Justice Fred Vinson, Jr., Thurgood Marshall would not have argued the landmark, Brown v. Board of Education case?

Initially argued in December of 1952, the case would have been decided with Chief Justice Fred Vinson Jr. on the bench. Justice Vinson suddenly died in 1953. Earl Warren was then appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court to take Justice Vinson’s place as interim Chief. Oral arguments for Brown v. Board of Education were rescheduled to December of 1953. The position of the appellants was argued by none other than Thurgood Marshall. Justice Earl Warren later issued a unanimous ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. The decision was instrumental for the equality of education in the U.S.

Although this is not a fact directly about Thurgood Marshall, the sequence of events had an impact on the outcome. Perhaps if he had never argued Brown v. Board of Education, or if it had been heard by Justice Vinson as the Chief Justice, the result would have been different. Thank you to the Honorable Thurgood Marshall!

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