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Sat, Apr 15


Online Discussion

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.

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Thurgood Marshall: The Life & Legacy
Thurgood Marshall: The Life & Legacy

Time & Location

Apr 15, 2023, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM CDT

Online Discussion

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.

Focus Questions

  1. “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.
  2. What do you consider Thurgood Marshall’s greatest contribution to the fight for social equality?
  3. What challenges might Marshall have faced in his career? In particular, which challenges might have required the most courage?
  4. Of Marshall’s legacy and achievements, which do you consider to be the most impactful?
  5. 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



Movies, Documentaries, Shows


Dialogue Facilitator 

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.


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