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Picture of Thurgood Marshall
Thurgood Marshall: Profile

When Thurgood Marshall was a rebellious high school student, a teacher once punished him by making him read and copy passages from the United States Constitution. Denied admission to the University of Maryland's law school because of his race, the magna cum laude graduate of Lincoln University entered the law school at Howard University. As chief council for the NAACP and founder of its Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Marshall was successful in 29 of the 32 cases he argued before the United States Supreme Court. Perhaps his most significant case was Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka in 1954, when the high court declared state-imposed segregation unconstitutional. As a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, not one of his 112 opinions was overturned on appeal. After serving as U.S. solicitor general for two years, he was appointed an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, serving with distinction for nearly a quarter century. Marshall once said the drafters of the Constitution could not have envisioned it being interpreted to include all Americans. "They could not have imagined, nor would they have accepted," he said, "that the document they were drafting would one day be construed by a Supreme Court to which had been appointed a woman and the descendent of an African slave."

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