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Thursday, February 24, 2011
There is nothing quite like a major figure from history speaking to us directly. This is the experience we have when reading Marshalling Justice: The Early Civil Rights Letters of Thurgood Marshall (Amistad, 2011).
Thurgood Marshall was the fearless litigator for the NAACP and then the NAACP Legal Defense Fund who led countless courtroom battles (most famously, Brown v. Board of Education) that changed American culture. His casework set crucial legal precedents that enabled desegregation of schools, the military and other public institutions, and greatly improved equal opportunity under the law for African Americans.
Marshall’s legal acumen and public service were recognized with an appointment to the federal bench by President Kennedy and then President Johnson’s historic appointment of Marshall as the first African-American U.S. Supreme Court justice in 1967.
The St. Louis American spoke to Michael G. Long, the editor of Marshalling Justice, about the man who emerges in these letters, which span from March 18, 1935 to Feb. 18, 1957 and set the stage for the emergence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.