Thurgood Marshall’s Fight for Equality
When people hear Civil Rights Movement, they probably think Martin Luther King Jr.’s "I had a dream," or Rosa Parks' refusal to surrender her seat. Although they are influential people, barely anyone thinks about Thurgood Marshall, even though Ebony dubbed Marshall "the most important Black man of this century — a man who rose higher than any Black person before him and who has had more effect on Black lives than any other person, Black or White” (Gale, Thomas). After World War II, African Americans had won freedom and were no longer seen as the procession of whites; however, they experienced more evils. They were not allowed the same qualities of life, liberties, rights, and so forth. Black people were forced to attend separate schools, churches, transportation systems, restaurants, and even public bathrooms. Even the federal court system judged people of colored skin more harshly than people of white skin, which led to unfair sentences and lynches. This prejudice caused African Americans to become even more helpless than they were as slaves. This was the norm from the early 1940s all the way to the late 1950s, when Thurgood Marshall put an end to this injustice. Thurgood Marshall played a key role in repressing African American injustices by defeating segregation, suppressing racial discrimination, and becoming the first black Supreme Court justice.
Growing up, Thurgood Marshall experienced segregation. His mother taught at a segregated elementary school, where she earned far less than white teachers. “Until 1954, racial segregation in education was not only legal but was required in seventeen states and permissible in several others” (Johnson, David). Due to segregation laws, he was not allowed to attend his most favored schools. He experienced being kicked out of public, white-only bathrooms. The discrimination of segregation shaped his passion for civil rights early on. Exactly 65 years ago, the Supreme Court had a hearing of the desegregation case of Brown vs. Board of Education. “Marshall argued that school segregation was a violation of individual rights under the 14thAmendement” (Biography.com). As legal counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), he directed the litigation that destroyed the legal foundations of Jim Crow segregation. He pointed out that the doctrine of “separate but equal” is inherently unequal. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court declared the segregation unconstitutional. “Marshall is the only black leader in American history who can argue that he defeated segregation where it really counts in court” (Williams, Juan). He devised a legal strategy based on the Constitution and forced rights to all citizens.
Along with segregation, Marshall faced racial discrimination his whole life. Racial discrimination is treating a person unfavorably because of the color of his/her skin. Throughout Marshall’s life, his liberties,...