Civil Rights Movement: Desegregation
Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) was a student of Charles Houston, special counsel to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He followed in his mentor's footsteps and began working for the NAACP in 1938. Marshall became a key prosecuting attorney in several school segregation cases argued before the Supreme Court, including the 1954 landmark case Brown v. Board of Education. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson successfully nominated him for a seat on the Court, making Marshall the first African American to hold a position on the highest court in the land.
In 1950, as an attorney for the NAACP, Thurgood Marshall brought two important cases before the United States Supreme Court, each involving racial segregation at the college level. He successfully convinced the Court that both the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma had violated the Constitution by denying fair treatment to black applicant Heman Sweatt and student George McLaurin, respectively. Later, in 1954, Marshall and the NAACP pulled together five class action lawsuits under the title Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka et al., each calling for an end to segregation at the pre-college level.