Justice Thurgood Marshall: First African American Supreme Court Justice

  • Justice Thurgood Marshall: First African American Supreme Court Justice
Justice Thurgood Marshall: First African American Supreme Court Justice

On June 13, 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated distinguished civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall to be the first African American justice to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Marshall had already made his mark in American law, having won 29 of the 32 cases he argued before the Supreme Court, most notably the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), which ruled school segregation unconstitutional. Marshall had also been appointed to the Second Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 and U.S. Solicitor General by President Johnson in 1965.

As an associate justice on the highest court in America, Marshall continued his lifelong fight against discrimination to protect the constitutional rights of the most vulnerable Americans. He retired from the Supreme Court in 1991 after 24 years on the bench and died on January 24, 1993.

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s June 13, 1967 nomination of civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall to be the first African American justice to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, the National Archives in Washington, DC will display a facsimile of the nomination and Justice Marshall’s opinion in the landmark affirmative action case Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) in which the Court upheld the constitutionality of considering race in college admissions decisions. The documents was on display from June 8 – July 26, 2017.

The National Archives Museum’s “Featured Document” exhibit is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of Ford Motor Company Fund.

Past Featured Records
  • Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm: “Unbought and Unbossed”
    Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm: “Unbought and Unbossed”

    Shirley Chisholm became the first African American woman to serve in Congress when she took office in January of 1969. During her seven Congressional terms, “Fighting Shirley” was an outspoken champion for racial and gender equality, and economic justice. To mark the 50th anniversary of Chisholm’s... Read more

  • Live from the Moon
    Live from the Moon

    Watch telecast footage of the 1968 Apollo 8 Mission, the first manned spacecraft to reach the Moon and safely return. This multimedia presentation features photos of the Moon’s surface taken from the spacecraft and an audio recording of the astronauts’ description of the lunar surface.

    On display... Read more

  • Meuse-Argonne Offensive Map
    Meuse-Argonne Offensive Map

    The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the largest operation of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I and the deadliest military campaign in American history. Fought from September 26 – November 11, 1918, by over a million American soldiers, the Meuse-Argonne operation was part of the final Allied offensive... Read more

  • Alexander Hamilton: An Inspiring Founder
    Alexander Hamilton: An Inspiring Founder

    In celebration of Alexander Hamilton and the Broadway musical inspired by his extraordinary story, the National Archives will showcase original records from the Founder’s life and legacy, paired with related Hamilton lyrics.

    On display in the East Rotunda Gallery through September 18, 2018.

  • Remembering the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Business Information Surveys for the Civil Disturbance Report, June 1968.
    Remembering the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Business Information Surveys for the Civil Disturbance Report, June 1968.

    In a turbulent decade filled with protests and social upheaval, the murder of the civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968, resulted in widespread civil unrest in many American cities, including Washington, DC. The riots resulted in millions of dollars in... Read more