In Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary, Juan Williams, a well-known political analysis on Fox News Channel, tells us the story of the influential American lawyer Thurgood Marshall. Williams shares with us the life events of Thurgood Marshall, along with stories and long kept secrets that are revealed to him during interviews with the experienced lawyer and his closest colleagues. Chronologically, Williams walks us through the experiences of Marshall beginning with his childhood background and schooling, then to his revolutionary career within the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Legal Defense Fund (LDF) and the Supreme Court, and concludes with Thurgood Marshall’s legacy and impact on the Civil Rights Movement.
Named after his dad’s brother, Thoroughgood Marshall was born in the summer of 1908. Thoroughgood Marshall shortened his name to Thurgood Marshall in the second grade because he thought his name was too long and he disliked spelling it. He originated from a middle class family in Baltimore, Maryland. Neither technically included within the north or the south of the country, Maryland’s racism reflected its position on a map. Between the obvious race divided south and the less prejudice north, Maryland included individuals with a mixture of principles and beliefs at the time. The author makes a good point that the geographic setting that Marshall originated from was one of the few factors that formed his thoughts and views on civil rights. His dad, William Marshall, worked as a waiter and country club steward. His mother, Norma Williams, was an elementary school teacher.
The author mentions that another beginning factor that assisted in forming Thurgood Marshall’s perspectives involves his parents. William Marshall, his father, taught Thurgood how to debate. While home at the kitchen table, William Marshall challenged his son from a young age. They argued and debated about many things. It was at his childhood kitchen table where Thurgood learned how to organize an argument and learned how to effectively communicate his points in the argument. This skill helped when he joined the debate team in college where he was able to put his debating skills to work. Being a schoolteacher, Norma Marshall, Thurgood’s mother, encouraged her children to do their best in school. Like many mothers, she envisioned her two sons having very successful careers. When Thurgood was a teenager, his mother decided to go back to school. She hoped that with a degree she would be able to get a better job as a teacher. Her determination and strength of mind influenced Marshall and displayed to him great work ethic.
In high school, Marshall was placed in classes with above-average students. Distracted with other things, primarily girls, he did not do as well as his classmates. He graduated and went on to study law at Lincoln University. Initially, Marshall spent his time partying and not learning. While in college he met and...