In the United States of America, very few documents affect our lives as much as the American Constitution. As being one of the first documents written by describing the inalienable rights of men it has shaped the laws, the thinking, and lifestyles of all those that have or will live in the United States of America. One man who thoroughly understood the Constitution and the liberties that were contained in it was the first ever African-American supreme court justice Thurgood Marshall.
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Marshall was a man among men that thoroughly understood the Constitution and laws of the United States of America. Often now he is thought of as a man who simply interprets the law as a supreme court justice, which was a significant part of Marshall’s life. However, Thurgood Marshall used this knowledge and his unwavering belief in the law and the justice system to reshape the way in which modern citizens of the United States of America live. As he was a frontrunner in the civil movements mid-century. With the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., he became a figure of civil liberties and equality for and on the behalf of all men and women living in the United States of America.
Thurgood Marshall had historical significance on because of his an exception youth and early life that would prepare him to become Mr. Civil Rights, his work and experiences in the fight for racial equality, the amending and ratification of laws that did not coincide with justice or the Constitution, and the service given during his time in government positions. Through his efforts Marshall Thurgood would help the United States of America become closer to how it is described and envisioned in the Constitution for all people. Regardless of race or background. This civil rights legend would have humble beginning when Thurgood Marshall was born on July 2, 1908 in Baltimore, Maryland. Son of a railroad porter, William Marshall, and school teacher, Norma Marshall. From a young age Thurgood would be exposed to racism. When Thurgood got older he said he was born, “way up South in Baltimore” because growing up the intensely segregated city of Baltimore. This however did not stop his family from providing for him and caring for him physical and mental. Thurgood would attend the best segregated school available to him. Know for being a troublemaker often his punishments would be to read and memorize the Constitution.
Once school was over his father would often take him to the court house where they would watch different court cases and Thurgood’s father would question Thurgood. He would ask Thurgood to defend his opinion on the cases they would watch. These things instilled a love and respect for the law in Thurgood Marshall a desire to become a lawyer. This desire would lead him to go on to study law at Lincoln University. While at Lincoln he would participate in a sit in that would lead to the desegregation of the local movie theater. join the first fraternity founded by African-Americans Alpha Phi Alpha. After marrying his first wife, Vivien Buster Burey, in 1929 and graduating in 1930 for Lincoln University with cum laude or honors. Receiving a Bachelors of Arts degree majoring in Philosophy and American literature. After graduation Thurgood Marshall would than go on to continue his education and purist of a law degree at Howard University. This however was not his first not his first choice of school. Originally he would have liked to attend University of Maryland Law, but was deterred by their strict all white policy when it came to the enrollment of their students. However, it would have seemed that God had taken that into consideration and would have greater things in mind for Thurgood Marshall by having him attend Howard University and be trained and influenced under the dean, Charles Hamilton Houston. Charles Houston would instill in Thurgood Marshall a sense of duty and civil loyalty to the people and the law.
He would also help Thurgood began to conceptualize the idea that “separate but equal”, as describe in 1896, in the Plessy v. Ferguson case, was not legal or in line with the 14 amendment. Three years later he would than go onto graduate as first of his class. While it may not seem significant to go over one’s childhood and time during school these times played a crucial role in shaping Thurgood Marshall’s ideology and pursuits for life long goals and dreams. Had Thurgood Marshall not had the successful and supportive parents that he had it is very he would have never had the confidence and interest to go on studying law and become a lawyer, or at the very least make it to graduate school. It was because Thurgood Marshall endured racial injustices throughout his childhood up to graduate school that he recognized the need for a change in the law towards race, and had he not been associate with such people has Charles Houston he may have never been able to conceptualize his ideas to protect civil rights.
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