How these dinner conversations turned Thurgood Marshall into an icon

Tenure of first Black judge ever to serve on Supreme Court ended more than 30 years ago

Thurgood Marshall at the White House, where President Johnson addressed members of the National Emergency Committee of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. (Getty Images)

As it turns out, random dinner conversations in a Baltimore kitchen led to a significant piece of U.S. history.

While growing up in Baltimore, the late Thurgood Marshall would go to local courts with his father to observe legal arguments, according to the website Mental Floss.

Once back at the house, Marshall and his father would have some heated debates around the dinner table, which were almost like court hearings themselves.

In 1965, Marshall said that his father “never told me to be a lawyer, but he turned me into one,” according to the article.

Marshall ended up as more than just your average lawyer.

He went on to become a significant advocate for civil rights, winning several cases to help African-American teachers get equal pay.

Ultimately, Marshall made history by becoming the first Black person to serve as a judge on the United States Supreme Court.

Nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson, Marshall started his tenure in 1967 and ended it 30 years ago this year, after he retired.

He was succeeded in 1991 by the second African-American to serve on the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas, nominated by President George Herbert Walker Bush.

Marshall died in 1993 at the age of 84.

Hopefully since then, the same dinner conversations he had with his dad that helped him become a major piece of U.S. history have resumed up above.

This story was first published in 2021. It has since been updated.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.