27 Marvelous Thurgood Marshall Quotes

Thurgood Marshall was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States serving as the first African-American Justice. Appointed by Lyndon B. Johnson, here is a look at some of the most notable Thurgood Marshall quotes ever documented.

“A child born to a Black mother in a state like Mississippi… has exactly the same rights as a white baby born to the wealthiest person in the United States. It’s not true, but I challenge anyone to say it is not a goal worth working for.”

“A man can make what he wants of himself if he truly believes that he must be ready for hard work and many heartbreaks.”

“Classifications and distinctions based on race or color have no moral or legal validity in our society. They are contrary to our constitution and laws.”

“Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time and in the same place.”

“History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure.”

“I have a lifetime appointment and I intend to serve it. I expect to die at 110, shot by a jealous husband.”

“I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy.”

“In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.”

“Lawlessness is lawlessness. Anarchy is anarchy is anarchy. Neither race nor color nor frustration is an excuse for either lawlessness or anarchy.”

“Mere access to the courthouse doors does not by itself assure a proper functioning of the adversary process.”

“None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody – a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns – bent down and helped us pick up our boots.”

“Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men’s minds.”

“Sometimes history takes things into its own hands.”

“Surely the fact that a uniformed police officer is wearing his hair below his collar will make him no less identifiable as a policeman.”

“The death penalty is no more effective a deterrent than life imprisonment… It is also evident that the burden of capital punishment falls upon the poor, the ignorant and the underprivileged members of society.”

“The government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and major social transformations to attain the system of constitutional government and its respect for the freedoms and individual rights, we hold as fundamental today.”

“The Ku Klux Klan never dies. They just stop wearing sheets because sheets cost too much.”

“The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis.”

“The process of democracy is one of change. Our laws are not frozen into immutable form, they are constantly in the process of revision in response to the needs of a changing society.”

“The United States has been called the melting pot of the world. But it seems to me that the colored man either missed getting into the pot or he got melted down.”

“To protest against injustice is the foundation of all our American democracy.”

“Truth is more than a mental exercise.”

“We can always stick together when we are losing, but tend to find means of breaking up when we’re winning. In Grace under Pressure.”

“We must dissent from the fear.”

“We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust.”

“What is the quality of your intent? Certain people have a way of saying things that shake us at the core. Even when the words do not seem harsh or offensive, the impact is shattering.”

“You do what you think is right and let the law catch up.”

Here is a mini biography on the life and success of Thurgood Marshall. Considered to be the most effective Civil Rights crusaders of the 20th century.

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