The World of Justice Thurgood Marshall
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 Rowan (Breaking Barriers, 1991, etc.) condenses 40 years of friendship and professional contact into a solid, if highly laudatory, life of the ex-Supreme Court justice. Rowan leaves no doubt about his point of view, (Marshall is ``one of the great human beings of our time'')but he broadens his scope to include discussions of significant human-rights cases in American courts through the 50 years of Marshall's legal career. From proud, humble beginnings in Baltimore, the man who would become the first African-American to serve on the nation's highest court found a focus when he was denied entrance to the University of Maryland Law School because of his race. Gaining his degree elsewhere, Marshall returned to Baltimore as an NAACP attorney, making one of his first cases a successful suit in 1935 against the law school that had denied him entrance, forcing it to accept its first black student. Other NAACP efforts in Missouri and Tennessee- -where Marshall was nearly lynched in 1946--followed, leading ultimately to the dismantling of the ``separate but equal'' doctrine and culminating in the landmark Supreme Court decision of 1954 that signalled the end of legal segregation. Marshall's prominence in these measures was acknowledged by his appointment to the US Circuit Court of Appeals in 1962, followed swiftly by Lyndon Johnson's naming him Solicitor General. He reached the Supreme Court in 1967, beginning a stormy but effective tenure that lasted until his retirement in 1991. Exceptionally candid, and full of private details and lengthy quotations from interviews and court records, this goes beyond hagiography to demonstrate what one resolute, capable man could do to overcome injustice and to make the American dream more of a reality for his fellow citizens. (Eight pages of b&w photographs- -not seen.)

Pub Date: Jan. 25th, 1993
ISBN: 0-316-75978-3
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1992