Thurgood Marshall Speech

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Thurgood Marshall delivered a speech on “The Legal Attack to Secure Civil Rights,” at the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People Wartime Conference, in Chicago, Illinois, during July 1944. In the speech Marshall gives an overview of antidiscrimination law and expresses the importance of understanding the laws in place to protect the civil rights of black people, by enforcing the civil rights statues. In the speech he outlines solutions for various forms of discrimination and stresses the importance of people bringing their complaints to the attention of lawyers’ so that federal officials are made to enforce the statues set forth. In Thurgood Marshall’s speech at the NAACP Wartime Conference, he maintains that a legal strategy is necessary to secure full civil rights and that blacks in particular, must avail themselves of statutes of the United States to protect their fundamental rights as free American citizens. Many people know Thurgood Marshall as the first African American Supreme Court justice. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1908, Marshall was raised in segregation and believed himself to be a Southerner. Upon graduation from law school he opened a practice in Baltimore. With limited opportunities for African Americans during the Depression, he became member of the local NAACP branch in an attempt to spread his name in the community. From 1938 and into the early 1960’s Marshall, beginning at the age of 32, served as the chief attorney for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and directed litigation for the advancement of legal rights for African Americans. He argued several civil rights cases before the Supreme Court, with the most famous case as a lawyer for the NAACP being, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. This case was the corner stone of desegregation in public schools. The Supreme Court ruled that “separate but equal” did not pertain to public education, because separate could never be...
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