The 1st Black Justice

Thurgood Marshall sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice


Thurgood Marshall sworn in as first African American Supreme Court Justice. President Lyndon Johnson nominated Marshall to the Supreme Court after Justice Tom Clark retired. On August 30, the Senate confirmed Marshall with a vote of 69 to 11 and 20 abstaining. Ten of the votes against Marshall came from Southerners, one Republican and nine Democrats, and one Northerner but not too far north, West Virginia. Senators concerns about Marshall claimed to be about his liberal judicial advocacy for civil rights but were about race. Still, Marshall garnered enough support to make history.After his confirmation, Marshall gave a statement, saying “I am greatly honored by the appointment and its confirmation. Let me take this opportunity to reaffirm my deep faith in this nation and its people, and to pledge that I shall ever be mindful of my obligation to the Constitution and to the goal of equal justice under law.” While Majority Leader Mansfield praised the newly minted associate justice, “Thurgood Marshall`s rise to the Supreme Court reaffirms the American ideal that what counts is what you are and not who you are or whom your antecedents may have been.” Marshall would go on to serve 24 years on the Supreme Court retiring in 1991.

Appointed, Oct 2, 1967