Sat, Apr 15|
Thurgood Marshall: The Life & Legacy
This spring we are exploring what it means to live a life of courage. Join us in this dialogue about the life and legacy of Thurgood Marshall.
Time & Location
Apr 15, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM CDT
About the Event
Thurgood Marshall was an American attorney credited with crafting the judicial tenets that overturned the doctrine of “separate but equal” (Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896); in so doing, he established the legal precedent that integrated the United States’ public school system in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case (1954). He served as lead attorney for the NAACP and founded its Legal Defense Fund before becoming the nation’s first black appointment to the Supreme Court and completing a 24-year-tenure as Justice.
This learning event will foster conversation around and a deeper understanding of the life, career, and challenges faced by Marshall. The event will feature focus questions for group discussion centered around some of Marshall’s most impactful, lasting ideas and contributions.
- “I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust…We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better” (Thurgood Marshall). Discuss the applicability and relevance of this quote to the present-day United States.
- What do you consider Thurgood Marshall’s greatest contribution to the fight for social equality?
- What challenges might Marshall have faced in his career? In particular, which challenges might have required the most courage?
- Of Marshall’s legacy and achievements, which do you consider to be the most impactful?
- Thurgood Marshall believed in the fundamental dignity and inherent worth of human beings, including those incarcerated and / or facing the death penalty. Discuss the ramifications of such thinking, exploring both the potential positive and negative elements.
Recommended Learning Resources
Please engage with a few of the learning resources to prepare for our discussion.
- “Supreme Justice: Speeches and Writings”, Thurgood Marshall, 2002
- “Dream Makers, Dream Breakers: The World of Justice”, Thurgood Marshall, 1993
- “Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary”, Juan Williams, 2000
- “Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America”, Gilbert King, 2012
- “Let the Law Catch Up: Thurgood Marshall in His Own Words”, Cathay Cambron, 2022
- “Who Was Thurgood Marshall?” NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc
- “Justice Thurgood Marshall Profile - Brown v. Board of Education” United States Courts
- “What Thurgood Marshall Taught Me”, Stephen Carter, July 14, 2021; The New York Times
- “Thurgood Marshall’s Unique Supreme Court Legacy”, NCC Staff, August 30, 2022; The National Constitution Center
- “Thurgood Marshall”, The History Channel, November 2019 (updated January 2021)
- “Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)”, National Archives
- “Plessy v. Ferguson”, The History Channel, October 2009 (updated January 2023)
- “Brown v. Board of Education (1954)”, National Archives
- “Brown v. Board of Education”, The History Channel, October 2009 (updated January 2023)
- Who, When, Wow! (Apple Podcast); Episode: “Thurgood Marshall: Supreme Court Justice”
- American RadioWorks (Corporation for Public Broadcasting); Episode: “Thurgood Marshall, Before the Court”; Stephen Smith & Kate Ellis
Movies, Documentaries, Shows
- “Marshall”, Feature Film starring Chadwick Boseman, 2017
- Speaking Engagement, C-SPAN, 1988 (published to YouTube February 21, 2021; NowThis News)
- Thurgood Marshall's Remarks on Racism Still Relevant Today
- Interview with T. H. Baker for the LBJ Presidential Library, 1969; (published by C-SPAN, October 2, 2017)
- Interview with Mike Wallace, Part 1, 1957 (published to YoutTube February 7, 2022; tvdays)
- Lost Mike Wallace Interviews Thurgood Marshall Part 1 (1957)
- Interview with Mike Wallace, Part 2, 1957 (published to YouTube April 3, 2022; tvdays)
- Mike Wallace interviews Thurgood Marshall part 2 RARE
Robyn Short is a racial equity consultant, restorative justice facilitator and mediator with 10+ years’ experience supporting groups in navigating meaningful dialogues that build relationships and community cohesion.
Thurgood Marshall Discussion