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Renowned civil rights litigator Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first African-American U.S. Supreme Court justice on Oct. 2, 1967. As chief counsel for the NAACP, he had won several landmark cases before that very court, including Brown v. Board of Education, essentially ending legal segregation in public facilities and accommodations.
President John F. Kennedy first appointed Marshall to the bench in 1961 to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals. He was not confirmed until 1962 because several Southern senators opposed his nomination. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson appointed him solicitor general of the United States. In that role, he won 14 of the 19 cases he argued before the Supreme Court. Johnson nominated him in 1967 to fill the seat being vacated by Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark, where he remained for 24 years.
Marshall continued to challenge discrimination during his tenure on the high court. Declining health forced him to retire in 1991, and he died in 1993.
Source: “This Day in Black History: Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first Black U.S. Supreme Court justice on Oct. 2, 1967” by J. Jones for the BET Network via BET.com