Famous People

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993) was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, serving from October 1967 until October 1991. Marshall was the Court's 96th justice and its first African-American justice.

Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court
In office
October 2, 1967 – October 1, 1991
Nominated by Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by Tom C. Clark
Succeeded by Clarence Thomas
32ndUnited States Solicitor General
In office
August 1965 – August 1967
President Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by Archibald Cox
Succeeded by Erwin N. Griswold
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
In office
August 1961 – August 1965
Nominated by John F. Kennedy
Preceded by New Seat
Succeeded by Wilfred Feinberg
Personal details
Born July 2, 1908
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Died January 24, 1993 (aged 84)
Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.
Spouse(s) Vivien "Buster" Burey (1929–1955) (her death)
Cecilia Suyat (1955–1993) (his death)
Children Thurgood Marshall, Jr., John W. Marshall
Alma mater Lincoln University
Howard University School of Law
Religion Episcopalian

Before becoming a judge, Marshall was a lawyer who was best known for his high success rate in arguing before the Supreme Court and for the victory in Brown v. Board of Education, a decision that desegregated public schools. He served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit after being appointed by President John F. Kennedy and then served as the Solicitor General after being appointed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. President Johnson nominated him to the United States Supreme Court in 1967.

We’re one country with one Constitution.


In 1987, Marshall gave a controversial speech on the occasion of the bicentennial celebrations of the Constitution of the United States. Marshall stated:

The government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and major social transformations to attain the system of constitutional government and its respect for the freedoms and individual rights, we hold as fundamental today.

In conclusion Marshall stated:

Some may more quietly commemorate the suffering, struggle, and sacrifice that has triumphed over much of what was wrong with the original document, and observe the anniversary with hopes not realized and promises not fulfilled. I plan to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution as a living document, including the Bill of Rights and the other amendments protecting individual freedoms and human rights.

Remarks of Thurgood Marshall
In Maui, Hawaii May 6, 1987

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