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
  • Courting Confrontation: The Arrest of Susan B. Anthony
    Courting Confrontation: The Arrest of Susan B. Anthony
    Thursday, November 3, 2022 – Thursday, January 12, 2023
    East Rotunda Gallery

    On November 5, 1872, Susan B. Anthony and 14 other women attempted to vote in Rochester, New York, challenging section... Read more

  • Featured Document Display: Remembering the Hollywood 10: Screenwriter Ring Lardner, Jr.
    Featured Document Display: Remembering the Hollywood 10: Screenwriter Ring Lardner, Jr.

    Thursday, September 8, 2022 – Wednesday, November 2, 2022
    East Rotunda Gallery

    Early in the Cold War, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) investigated allegations of Communist activity in the film industry. The committee’s mandate was... Read more

  • Black Wall Street: 100 Years Since the Tulsa Race Massacre
    Black Wall Street: 100 Years Since the Tulsa Race Massacre

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 – Thursday, June 17, 2021
    Online

    “— were dead. Figures are omitted [because] NO ONE KNOWS.” —Red Cross Report


    On Memorial Day 1921, a Black shoe shiner named Dick Rowland rode in an elevator with white operator Sarah Page. The next day,... Read more

  • Victory in Japan: 75th Anniversary of the End of WWII
    Victory in Japan: 75th Anniversary of the End of WWII

    Japan Surrenders

    World War II, the bloodiest conflict in history, came to an end in a 27-minute ceremony on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, six years and one day after the war erupted in Europe. On that September morning in 1945, Japanese officials signed a... Read more

  • National Inventors’ Day
    National Inventors’ Day

    To celebrate National Inventors’ Day, learn about Marjorie S. Joyner and her groundbreaking permanent wave machine, an innovation that revolutionized the time-intensive task of curling or straightening women’s hair. Over her 50-year career, Joyner trained thousands of students and helped write the first cosmetology laws in... Read more