5 fun facts about thurgood marshall
Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert KingDevil in the Grove is the winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.
Arguably the most important American lawyer of the twentieth century, Thurgood Marshall was on the verge of bringing the landmark suit Brown v. Board of Education before the U.S. Supreme Court when he became embroiled in an explosive and deadly case that threatened to change the course of the civil rights movement and cost him his life.
In 1949, Florida’s orange industry was booming, and citrus barons got rich on the backs of cheap Jim Crow labor. To maintain order and profits, they turned to Willis V. McCall, a violent sheriff who ruled Lake County with murderous resolve. When a white seventeen-year-old Groveland girl cried rape, McCall was fast on the trail of four young blacks who dared to envision a future for themselves beyond the citrus groves. By day’s end, the Ku Klux Klan had rolled into town, burning the homes of blacks to the ground and chasing hundreds into the swamps, hell-bent on lynching the young men who came to be known as “the Groveland Boys.”
And so began the chain of events that would bring Thurgood Marshall, the man known as “Mr. Civil Rights,” into the deadly fray. Associates thought it was suicidal for him to wade into the “Florida Terror” at a time when he was irreplaceable to the burgeoning civil rights movement, but the lawyer would not shrink from the fight—not after the Klan had murdered one of Marshall’s NAACP associates involved with the case and Marshall had endured continual threats that he would be next.
Drawing on a wealth of never-before-published material, including the FBI’s unredacted Groveland case files, as well as unprecedented access to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund files, King shines new light on this remarkable civil rights crusader, setting his rich and driving narrative against the heroic backdrop of a case that U.S. Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson decried as “one of the best examples of one of the worst menaces to American justice.”
After graduating cum laude from Lincoln University in , Marshall wanted to attend the University of Maryland School of Law, just blocks from his home in Baltimore. Marshall instead attended Howard University School of Law, where he studied under Charles Hamilton Houston, the first black lawyer to win a case in front of the Supreme Court. Marshall graduated first in his class. They got the last laugh: Just a few years later in , Marshall and Houston teamed up to represent Donald Gaines Murray, a black student seeking to attend the University of Maryland School of Law, in a lawsuit against the school. They won. After they won independence from European imperial powers, Ghana and Tanzania were in need of a constitution.
From prankster to first in his class, here are 20 things to know about U. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall was a giant of the civil rights movement, and his impressive achievements number in the dozens. Here are 20 things to know about about the first African-American appointed to the Supreme Court. Marshall was born July 2, , in Baltimore, Maryland, the great-grandchild of slaves.
Toggle navigation. Thurgood Marshall Facts Thurgood Marshall was the first African-American Supreme Court Justice in the United States, and was one of the 20 th century's most influential Civil Rights advocates, having been responsible for ending segregation in schools. Thurgood Marshall was born on July 2 nd , , in Baltimore, Maryland, to Norma Marshall, a kindergarten teacher, and William Marshall, a railroad porter. Thurgood was a good student and graduated from high school a year early, going on to attend Lincoln University where he graduated with honors majoring in American literature and philosophy. Thurgood then attended Howard University School of Law, graduating in Thurgood Marshall's name was originally Thoroughgood but he shortened it to Thurgood in grade two because he was tired of having to spell it out.