Black History Month may be over, but, we can celebrate the stories that make up our history throughout the year.
We are making history every day thanks to the men and women who serve our communities all over the country, fighting for justice and equality.
The NAACP’s commitment to those who move black history forward has been unbroken for more than a century. Let’s continue that commitment together. Become a member of the NAACP. Support our work and join us in making new stories—American stories.
Every time a new voter is registered, or we march in unison to a state capitol, lifting our voices for those who can’t, or fight to end a “Stand Your Ground” law, we are creating black history—American history. Not every hero is as well known as W. E. B. DuBois, Harriet Tubman, or Rosa Parks, but this in no way diminishes the measure of these accomplishments and contributions.
NAACP members stand behind these champions by fighting for the things that matter to all of us. When we work to ensure every person has the right to vote, when we demand an end to racial profiling, when we help to ensure folks have access to health insurance, when we fight for better education and an end to economic inequality, it amplifies the work being done by our unsung heroes every day. We all know that black history is more than one month of note—we stand tall throughout the year. Stand with us. Join us in making history. Become an NAACP member today:
Thank you for making history with us,
Lorraine C. Miller Interim President and CEO
On the morning of September 4, 1957, fifteen-year-old Dorothy Counts set out on a harrowing path toward Harding High, where-as the first African American to attend the all-white school – she was greeted by a jeering swarm of boys who spat, threw trash, and yelled epithets at her as she entered the building.
On this day in 1967, Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African American to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice. He would remain on the Supreme Court for 24 years before retiring for health reasons, leaving a legacy of upholding the rights of the individual as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution… read more »
In 1954, he won the Brown v. Board of Education case, in which the Supreme Court ended racial segregation in public schools.
Marshall was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1967, and served for 24 years.
He died in Maryland on January 24, 1993.
“Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men’s minds.”
“In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.”
“Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time and in the same place.”
“None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody—a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns—bent down and helped us pick up our boots.”
“The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis.”
Thurgood Marshall was born on July 2, 1908, in Baltimore, Maryland. His father, William Marshall, the grandson of a slave, worked as a steward at an exclusive club. His mother, Norma, was a kindergarten teacher. One of William Marshall’s favorite pastimes was to listen to cases at the local courthouse before returning home to rehash the lawyers’ arguments with his sons. Thurgood Marshall later recalled, “Now you want to know how I got involved in law? I don’t know. The nearest I can get is that my dad, my brother, and I had the most violent arguments you ever heard about anything. I guess we argued five out of seven nights at the dinner table.”
Marshall attended Baltimore’s Colored High and Training School (later renamed Frederick Douglass High School), where he was an above-average student and put his finely honed skills of argument to use as a star member of the debate team. The teenaged Marshall was also something of a mischievous troublemaker. His greatest high school accomplishment, memorizing the entire United States Constitution, was actually a teacher’s punishment for misbehaving in class.
After graduating from high school in 1926, Marshall attended Lincoln University, a historically black college in Pennsylvania. There, he joined a remarkably distinguished student body that included Kwame Nkrumah, the future president of Ghana; Langston Hughes, the great poet; and Cab Calloway, the famous jazz singer.
After graduating from Lincoln with honors in 1930, Marshall applied to the University of Maryland Law School. Despite being overqualified academically, Marshall was rejected because of his race. This firsthand experience with discrimination in education made a lasting impression on Marshall and helped determine the future course of his career. Instead of Maryland, Marshall attended law school in Washington, D.C. at Howard University, another historically black school. The dean of Howard Law School at the time was the pioneering civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall quickly fell under the tutelage of Houston, a notorious disciplinarian and extraordinarily demanding professor. Marshall recalled of Houston, “He would not be satisfied until he went to a dance on the campus and found all of his students sitting around the wall reading law books instead of partying.” Marshall graduated magna cum laude from Howard in 1933.
Murray v. Pearson
After graduating from law school, Marshall briefly attempted to establish his own practice in Baltimore, but without experience he failed to land any significant cases.