All Rise: Thurgood Marshall Made History in America

This We Must Do

In the ‘30s, African Americans in Texas weren’t allowed to vote in the Democratic Party primary. A 1923 statute made the ban clear, and when the Supreme Court passed the law in 1927, sneaky local officials started turning away black voters on their own accord. Their excuse: the Court didn’t specifically forbid it.


Thurgood Marshall talking to newsmen in NYC, 1955. Photo by Everett Collection / Shutterstock

After decades of voter defeat, Thurgood Marshall of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund had enough. He rolled up his sleeves and took out his briefcase. “There is only one way to handle that bunch,” he wrote to a newspaper editor (who was black) in 1940. “And that is to take them into Court. This we must do.” It was Marshall’s style – fearless and untiring.

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