Happy Birthday, Justice Marshall
July 2, 2008 8:52 PM   Subscribe

"He grew up in a ruthlessly discriminatory world -- a world in which segregation of the races was pervasive and taken for granted, where lynching was common, where the black man's inherent inferiority was proclaimed widely and wantonly. Thurgood Marshall had the capacity to imagine a radically different world, the imaginative capacity to believe that such a world was possible, the strength to sustain that image in the mind's eye and the heart's longing, and the courage and ability to make that imagined world real." Born July 2, 1908, died January 25, 1993. Had he lived, he would have been 100 years old today.
posted by alms (15 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Born and reared in Baltimore, [he] was excluded from the all-white law school at the University of Maryland. Later he brought successful lawsuits that integrated not only that school but also several other state university systems... Years later, the University of Maryland named its law library for him, and the City of Baltimore honored him by placing a bronze likeness, more than eight feet tall, outside the Federal courthouse.
From the third link, above.
posted by alms at 8:58 PM on July 2, 2008

NPR did a piece today on Laurence Fishburne's Broadway play about Marshall. Listening to Fishburne as Marshall made me wish I hadn't just moved to the other coast. However, Fishburne said something about taking the play across the country, so I'll keep hoping to see it one day.

Now I'll start reading your links. Thanks for posting!
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 9:13 PM on July 2, 2008

Michael Seidman, a beloved law professor whom I mentioned in a comment last week, clerked for Marshall, and learned everything he knows about the difference, and confluence, of passionate liberal views about civil rights versus, and with, the actual textual reasoning behind the constitution.

Moreover, I was excited earlier this week when I was supposed to meet Ramsey Clark (Johnson's attorney general, and Saddam Hussein's defense attorney) and hear him speak down hear at Loyola in New Orleans where I'm participating in a legal clinic this Summer. Sadly, Mr. Clark had to cancel at the last minute, but I feel that this tidbit is too good not to share:

Ramsey CLark's father was a long serving Justice on the Supreme Court. When Johnson took office, he hand-picked Ramsey as his A.G. SO far, so good, and very good, as it turned out, as Ramsey was able to effectively enforce all of the most important civil rights acts and executive decisions passed or made under Kennedy and Johnson. However, the primary reason Ramsey was chosen was because of his father.

His father, you see, while a good Justice, could not in good conscience serve on the bench while his son was the chief attorney for the United States, and so had to resign. Johnson had been counting on this, so that he could appoint... Thurgood Marshall.

And now you know... the rest of the story.

(I'm sorry)
posted by Navelgazer at 9:15 PM on July 2, 2008 [11 favorites]

The Supreme Court needs another Thurgood Marshall. Thanks for the links, alms. And thanks for "the rest of the story," Navelgazer, that's very interesting.
posted by amyms at 9:27 PM on July 2, 2008

Happy birthday Justice Marshall, you've always been one of mine and my father's heroes.

But I have some bad news. Actuallly its disturbing, terrible, despicable news. But its the truth.

Thurgood 2.0 seemed pretty awesome too, at least until he became the Director of the largest privately managed prison corporation in the country. And if having the largest prison company is not enough, Corrections Corporation of America has the largest for profit prison as well.

Many of these prisons are used to house the thousands of illegal immigrants captured everyday. And the conditions are said to be horrible, rape is something the guards do for fun.

Mr Marshall Jr, your father is would be very disappointed in you right now. Very.
posted by Parallax.Error at 10:43 PM on July 2, 2008 [3 favorites]

Why do I have to learn this from MetaFilter? Why isn't this on every major newspaper's front page, above the fold? Why didn't they organize one hundred official celebrations of the legacy of this giant of the 20th Century all across America, two in each State? Why hasn't the President and a big delegation from the Cabinet, Congress, and the Supreme Court brought flowers to Justice Marshall's tomb?

Justice Marshall's wise face deserves to be carved into Mt. Rushmore -- he's deserving of the same admiration people have -- or should have -- for Dr. King.

On the other hand, Clarence Thomas occupies Marshall's seat. Maybe that's the answer to my questions above.
posted by matteo at 3:40 AM on July 3, 2008 [3 favorites]

Would have. Quitter.
posted by Eideteker at 4:19 AM on July 3, 2008

If Willard Scott has taught me anything over the years it's that Thurgood would have been 100 years young today (yesterday).
posted by Pollomacho at 4:24 AM on July 3, 2008

Why do I have to learn this from MetaFilter?

Activist posters.
posted by DU at 4:45 AM on July 3, 2008

If anyone is flying through BWI Airport (now Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport), there is an exhibit in the middle of the horseshoe, top floor, on his life. It is worth a few minutes, even if it does sugar-coat just how much pernicious racism he had to deal with.

And I love that U of MD's law school library is now named after him. That is some sweet, sweet revenge.
posted by QIbHom at 6:25 AM on July 3, 2008

Wrote a college paper on him....true hero

Just a damned amazing guy.

nice rememberance, and thank you for this
posted by timsteil at 6:45 AM on July 3, 2008

Naming UMD's law library after Marshall wasn't revenge it was contrition.

And his son's regretable choice of career makes his dad no less a hero in my eyes. Best (worst) derail ever.
posted by Fupped Duck at 12:46 PM on July 3, 2008

Thurgood Marshall was one of my heroes as a child.

He is still today, and boy, do I miss at the end of every Supreme Court session.

The day Clarence Thomas was confirmed, I wept.
posted by liza at 2:25 PM on July 3, 2008

That should have been : He is still today, and boy, do I miss him at the end of every Supreme Court session.
posted by liza at 2:27 PM on July 3, 2008

posted by brandz at 10:50 PM on July 3, 2008

« Older title   |   Servigliano Calling Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments