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Biographies Unit Biographies

Thurgood Marshall 1908-1993
First African American Supreme Court Justice

Thurgood Marshall grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. He was a good student, but he sometimes got into trouble. Once, his teacher punished him by making him read the whole United States Constitution. It is very long!

Marshall became a lawyer when he grew up. The Constitution became very important to him. The Constitution gives equal rights to everyone. Yet many laws were still unfair to African Americans. In some places African American children could not go to the same schools as white children. Marshall worked to change this and other unfair laws. Then, he became a judge. In 1967, the President of the United States asked him to join the Supreme Court. Marshall was the first African American judge to be on the Supreme Court. He worked to protect the rights of all citizens.

Comprehension Check

What kind of work did Marshall do when he was a lawyer?

Critical Thinking

Why was the Constitution important to Thurgood Marshall?