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Today, in 1967, President Johnson nominated the solicitor general, Thurgood Marshall, to the United States Supreme Court.

June 13, 1967. Lyndon Johnson was President of the United States. When he had been a senator from Texas, his record on civil rights had been, at best, mixed. As president, that changed. LBJ did several things for civil rights: Most notably, he was instrumental in passing the Civil Rights Act.

But he also nominated Thurgood Marshall to the United States Supreme Court. Marshall became the first Black person ever to sit on the court.

Thurgood Marshall was born on July 2, 1908 (exactly 51 years before me!) in Baltimore, Maryland. Some of his great-grandparents had been slaves. After graduating from Lincoln University (his classmates included Langston Hughes, Kwame Nkrumah and Cab Calloway). He applied to law school at the University of Maryland but was rejected because Blacks were not admitted. Instead, he went to Howard Law School and was valedictorian.  Two years later, Thurgood Marshall later had a client who sued Univ. Maryland, ending official segregation there.

He later became chief council of the NAACP and helped draft the constitutions of Ghana and Tanzania. He also argued 32 cases before the Supreme court, winning 29 of them including Brown vs. Board of Education.

Marshall served on the Supreme Court from 1967 to 1991. He died in 1993.

A great justice, and a life that illustrates that some things have changed, for the better.

Originally posted to plf515 on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 04:47 PM PDT.

Also republished by History for Kossacks.

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