Born in 1908 in Baltimore, Marshall was the grandson of a slave. He was denied admission into the University of Maryland law school because he was Black, and then attended Howard University Law School. After establishing a private practice in Baltimore, he went to work with Charles Hamilton Houston at the NAACP and helped to develop the strategy to overthrow the Plessy v. Ferguson “separate but equal” decision that endorsed segregation. One of Marshall’s first cases was to sue the University of Maryland, and win. Marshall won most of the cases in which he appeared before the US Supreme Court. In 1961 he was appointed a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Second Circuit by President Kennedy and in 1965 President Johnson appointed him to the office of the U.S. Solicitor. In 1967, he joined the US Supreme Court as its first African-American justice where he distinguished himself by his commitment to individual rights and social justice. He retired from the Supreme Court in 1991 and died two years later.
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