Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Thurgood Marshall: Civil Rights Lawyer and Supreme Court Justice

Thurgood Marshall: Civil Rights Lawyer and Supreme Court Justice

Brenda Haugen
Nonfiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Compass Point Books, 2007   ISBN: 978-0756518776

Thurgood Marshall was the second son of Willie and Norma Marshall. Because of his lack of education Willie could only get jobs working as a waiter or railroad porter. He wanted more for his sons and he and his wife worked hard so that their boys could go to college. After completing his undergraduate studies at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, Thurgood decided that he would study law. He was disappointed that he could not go to the University of Maryland Law School, but there was nothing that he could do about it. African Americans were not admitted into that institution, and instead Thurgood went to Howard University in Washington, DC.

Thurgood was not at Howard long before he became friends with the dean, Charles Hamilton Houston. Houston was a driving force in the NAACP and he made it possible for Thurgood to work on real cases. After Marshall graduated at the top of his class, the NAACP hired him and Houston to look at the status of black schools around the country. Marshall was appalled at what he found. Many black schools were little more than shacks and they certainly did not meet the "separate but equal" ideal that segregationists supported. Something had to be done to ensure that black children got the same level of education as white children and Marshall became determined that he would fight this fight in the courts until he won.

In this wonderfully written Signature Lives title, the author not only describes Thurgood Marshall's life but she also provides her readers with a picture of what it was like to be an African American during the segregation years. Readers who did not previously fully understand what segregation meant for African Americans will be greatly enlightened after reading this book, and they will come to appreciate how much Thurgood Marshall did for his people and his country.