Shout out to Thurgood Marshall—civil rights activist and the first Black U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
While attending HBCU, Lincoln University of PA—considered the Black Princeton University in 1925—you befriended classmate Langston Hughes and eventually joined the debate club. This fostered your interest in becoming an attorney. Earlier, as a high achieving high school student in Baltimore, Maryland, your mischievous behavior frequently resulted in your removal from class and assignment to read the United States Constitution. The die was cast! These events—combined with your denied acceptance into the University of Maryland School of Law because you were Black—cultivated your passion for defeating racial discrimination through impartial application of U.S. law.
As chief counsel for the NAACP, you successfully fought several cases before the Supreme Court, to include Shelley v. Kraemer (1948)—a landmark case that removed covenants preventing people of color from purchasing property in areas that forbade Black residents. You’re admired most for victoriously arguing before the courts, in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case in 1954, that “separate but equal” doctrine is unconstitutional. On October 2, 1967, you were sworn into office, becoming the first Black Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Accordingly, you’ve paved the way for the first Black female to join the bench, soon to come.
I’m effusive in my praise of your work and historical contributions. Many steadfastly held a high opinion of your opinion. You maintained a profound grasp of education leading to empathy which leads to grace, and grace helping to aid understanding by all who nurtures this attribute within themselves and others. You made your mark as a lawyer and a Justice; and you’ve granted our country various opportunities for restorative justice. Salute.
“The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis.”