The first African American is appointed to the Supreme Court in 1967 ~~ In memory of

U.S. circuit judges Robert Katzmann, Damon Kei...
U.S. circuit judges Robert Katzmann, Damon Keith, and Sonia Sotomayor at a 2004 exhibit on the Fourteenth Amendment, Thurgood Marshall, and Brown v. Board of Education. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On this day in 1967, Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African American to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. He would remain on the Supreme Court for 24 years before retiring for health reasons, leaving a legacy of upholding the rights of the individual as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution… read more »

Born on July 2, 1908, in Baltimore, Maryland, Thurgood Marshall studied law at Howard University. As counsel to the NAACP, he utilized the judiciary to champion equality for African Americans.

In 1954, he won the Brown v. Board of Education case, in which the Supreme Court ended racial segregation in public schools.

Marshall was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1967, and served for 24 years.

He died in Maryland on January 24, 1993.


“Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men’s minds.”

– Thurgood Marshall

“In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.”

– Thurgood Marshall

“Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time and in the same place.”

– Thurgood Marshall

“None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody—a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns—bent down and helped us pick up our boots.”

– Thurgood Marshall

“The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis.”

– Thurgood Marshall

Early Life

Thurgood Marshall was born on July 2, 1908, in Baltimore, Maryland. His father, William Marshall, the grandson of a slave, worked as a steward at an exclusive club. His mother, Norma, was a kindergarten teacher. One of William Marshall’s favorite pastimes was to listen to cases at the local courthouse before returning home to rehash the lawyers’ arguments with his sons. Thurgood Marshall later recalled, “Now you want to know how I got involved in law? I don’t know. The nearest I can get is that my dad, my brother, and I had the most violent arguments you ever heard about anything. I guess we argued five out of seven nights at the dinner table.”

Marshall attended Baltimore’s Colored High and Training School (later renamed Frederick Douglass High School), where he was an above-average student and put his finely honed skills of argument to use as a star member of the debate team. The teenaged Marshall was also something of a mischievous troublemaker. His greatest high school accomplishment, memorizing the entire United States Constitution, was actually a teacher’s punishment for misbehaving in class.

After graduating from high school in 1926, Marshall attended Lincoln University, a historically black college in Pennsylvania. There, he joined a remarkably distinguished student body that included Kwame Nkrumah, the future president of Ghana; Langston Hughes, the great poet; and Cab Calloway, the famous jazz singer.

After graduating from Lincoln with honors in 1930, Marshall applied to the University of Maryland Law School. Despite being overqualified academically, Marshall was rejected because of his race. This firsthand experience with discrimination in education made a lasting impression on Marshall and helped determine the future course of his career. Instead of Maryland, Marshall attended law school in Washington, D.C. at Howard University, another historically black school. The dean of Howard Law School at the time was the pioneering civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall quickly fell under the tutelage of Houston, a notorious disciplinarian and extraordinarily demanding professor. Marshall recalled of Houston, “He would not be satisfied until he went to a dance on the campus and found all of his students sitting around the wall reading law books instead of partying.” Marshall graduated magna cum laude from Howard in 1933.

Murray v. Pearson

After graduating from law school, Marshall briefly attempted to establish his own practice in Baltimore, but without experience he failed to land any significant cases.


Dorthy Height – In Memory

Dorothy Height: a civil rights heroine, educator and social activist ; She was a woman who had her finger print on all things American and as the President said,” deserves a place in our history”.    3/24/1912 – 4/20/2010

first posted 4/22/2011



Logan Act … why it was created

Logan Act

Dr. George Logan of Pennsylvania attempted to normalize relations with France. He entered into negotiations with France, without authorization, in the hopes of resuming normal relations. In 1799, Congress passed legislation outlawing such contacts between foreign governments and private individuals. The law remains on the books to this day.

In early 1807, a British squadron was stationed off the coast of Virginia. They were there primarily to intercept French frigates, which had taken refuge in Annapolis, Maryland. From time to time, the British vessels made use of American port facilities. British sailors were constantly deserting their ships. This became a major irritant to the British. Three deserters were said to have enlisted on the American naval frigate “Chesapeake.” The British protested, and the Secretary of Navy ordered an inquiry. This inquiry confirmed that three deserters from the “Melampus” had indeed enlisted on the “Chesapeake,” but it was determined that the sailors were Americans who had been illegally impressed. This was transmitted to the British, and the matter seemed to be at an end.

Nevertheless, the British commander in charge of the North Atlantic issued an order to search the “Chesapeake” for deserters, if the ship were encountered at sea. The “Chesapeake” was commanded by Captain Charles Gordon, and had Commodore Barron on board. On June 22, the ship departed from Hampton Roads, headed for the Mediterranean Sea. At 3:30 p.m., the British frigate the “Leopard” came down before the wind. The crew hailed the “Chesapeake,” stating that it had dispatches for the Commodore Barron. Barron replied “We will heave to and you can send your boat on board of us.” At 3:45 p.m., the “Leopard’s” Lieutenant Meade arrived with the following note demanding that the British deserters be turned over.

Since the deserters from the Melampus were not on the list submitted, Captain Gordon believed that his assurance would suffice, and sent back a stern reply to the British.

After the British officer had departed, Barron showed the notes to his other officers. While he felt that the matters was closed, he realized that some show of strength was appropriate. Therefore, Barron ordered Gordon to clear the gun deck. Unfortunately, it took 30 minutes to prepare the “Chesapeake” for battle, and the British officer returned to the ship only five minutes later. Barron was hailed. Trying to obtain more time for his crew, Barron replied that he did not understand. The “Leopard” then fired two shots across the “Chesapeake’s” bow, followed by whole broadside at nearly point blank range. The “Leopard then poured two more broadsides into the “Chesapeake,” while it was still unready to respond. Commodore Barron then ordered the flag to be struck. Several British officers then came aboard and seized the three Americans deserters from the Melampus. They also found a true British deserter, named Jenkin Ratford, who was serving under an assumed name. Ratford was later hung.

The attack on the “Chesapeake” stirred America into a war fervor. If anyone but Jefferson had been President, this incident would probably have been enough to begin a war.

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