Thurgood Marshall, (1908-1993), the grandson of a former slave, was born in Baltimore, Maryland. "Mr. Civil Rights," changed history in 1954 when he successfully argued Brown vs. the Board of Education before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Brown case outlawed segregation in schools. He was educated at Lincoln University and Howard Law School. Marshall began practicing law in 1933, became assistant special counsel for the NAACP in 1936, then chief counsel in 1938.
He was the first director/chief counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (1940-1961). In 1961, President John Kennedy appointed him Second Circuit United States Court of Appeals judge. By 1965 he was appointed solicitor general in the Department of Justice. Marshall was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967 becoming the first African-American on the court. Marshall is considered the most prominent civil rights lawyer of the 20th Century.