Marshall is best known for achievements after he relocated to New York in 1936 to work for the NAACP. But Marshall's personality, attitudes, priorities, and work habits had crystallized during earlier years in Maryland.
This work is the first close examination of the formative period in Marshall's life. As the authorn shows, Thurgood Marshall was a fascinating man of contrasts. He fought for racial justice without becoming a racist. Simultaneously idealistic and pragmatic, Marshall was a passionate advocate, yet he maintained friendly relationships with his opponents.
Young Thurgood reveals how Marshall's distinctive traits were molded by events, people, and circumstances early in his life. Professor Gibson presents fresh information about Marshall's family, youth, and education. He describes Marshall's key mentors, the special impact of his high school and college competitive debating, his struggles to establish a law practice during the Great Depression, and his first civil rights cases. The author sheds new light on the NAACP and its first lawsuits in the campaign that led to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision. He also corrects some of the often-repeated stories about Marshall that are inaccurate.
The only biography of Thurgood Marshall to be endorsed by Marshall's immediate family, Young Thurgood is an exhaustively researched and engagingly written work that everyone interested in law, civil rights, American history, and biography will want to read.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-10-15
- Reviewer: Staff
University of Maryland law professor Gibson highlights the formative years of the revered African-American civil rights lawyer and Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall (1908–1993), in this straightforward professional and personal biography. Organized linearly, Gibson traces Marshall’s family background and academic path, and then builds on this picture by detailing Marshall’s early professional life, during which time the young lawyer engages in a dogged, pragmatic, and principled fight against the overt racism then pervasive in Southern culture. White society’s comfort with brutal, uncontained prejudice and its hostility to change is shocking and makes for riveting reading. Among the blatant practices Marshall and his colleagues challenge are segregated schools, systemically lower pay for African-American teachers, bars on the admittance of African-Americans to professional schools, the toleration of lynching, and a justice system providing little justice for African-Americans. The writing is unadorned and accessible, and augmented by numerous newspaper articles and photos. Marshall’s role as the first African-American Justice of the Supreme Court has rightly made him an emblematic figure, and Gibson demonstrates that Marshall’s early years were not mere harbingers of a future place among civil rights giants, but by themselves qualified him for a place in history. Gibson succeeds in making Marshall’s story immediate and vital. Agent: Jean V. Naggar Literary. (Dec.)