Wednesday, June 13, 2007

June 13, 1967:

LBJ Appoints Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court

Even if he had never been appointed to the US Supreme Court as its first black member by President Johnson in 1967, Thurgood Marshall would have left a deep mark on American race relations.

"He joined the NAACP national legal staff in 1936, and by 1938 - five years after graduation from law school - became the Chief Legal Officer of [the organization]," wrote Bob Bankard in "In 1940, the NAACP created the Legal Defense and Education Fund, with Marshall as its Director and Counsel. For more than twenty years, Marshall coordinated the NAACP effort to end racial segregation, winning 32 of 35 cases he brought before the Supreme Court, and systematically deconstructing the Jim Crow and apartheid that had been built into the American legal system.

"A few of his more wide-ranging victories include:

Smith v. Allwright, in 1944, making it unconstitutional to exclude African-American voters from primary elections.
Shelley v. Kraemer, in 1948 made it unconstitutional to deny housing on the basis of race.
Sweatt v. Painter and McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, both 1950, made it unconstitutional to provide 'separate but equal' facilities based on race in state universities.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954 made it unconstitutional to racially segregate public schools."

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