Our mission is to acquire Thurgood Marshall’s childhood home located at 1632-1634 Division Street in Baltimore, MD and restore, preserve, and establish it as a national civil rights destination, community law center, and catalyst for neighborhood renewal.
Preserve the legacy of the city’s many civil rights leaders including:
E. Everett Lane
Linwood G. Koger Sr.
George W.F. McMechen
W. Ashbie Hawkins
Clarence Mitchell Jr.
Provide legal services in the underserved community.
Excite and sustain interest in the historically significant African American sites throughout Baltimore City.
Initiate redevelopment in the neighborhood.
Marshall was born in Baltimore, MD, on July 2, 1908. He was descended from slaves on both sides of his family. His father, William Marshall, worked as a railroad porter, and his mother Norma, as a teacher; they instilled in him an appreciation for the United States Constitution and the rule of law. Marshall first learned how to debate from his father, who took Marshall and his brother to watch court cases; they would later debate what they had seen. The family also debated current events after dinner. Marshall said that although his father never told him to become a lawyer, he “turned me into one. He did it by teaching me to argue, by challenging my logic on every point, by making me prove every statement I made.”
Marshall attended Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore and was placed in the class with the best students. He graduated a year early in 1925 with a B-grade average and placed in the top third of the class. He went to Lincoln University. In his freshman year, he opposed the integration of African-American professors at the university. In his second year, Marshall participated in a sit-in protest against segregation at a local movie theater. In that year, he was initiated as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first fraternity founded by and for blacks. His marriage to Vivien Buster Burey in September 1929 encouraged him to take his studies seriously, and he graduated from Lincoln with honors (cum laude) Bachelor of Arts in Humanities, with a major in American literature and philosophy.
In 1930 Marshall applied to his hometown law school, the University of Maryland School of Law, but was denied admission because of the school’s segregation policy. Marshall instead attended Howard University School of Law, where his views on discrimination were heavily influenced by the dean Charles Hamilton Houston. In 1933, he graduated first in his class.
Marshall’s first major court case came in 1933 when he successfully sued the University of Maryland to admit a young African American Amherst University graduate named Donald Gaines Murray.
Thurgood Marshall followed his Howard University mentor, Charles Hamilton Houston to New York and later became Chief Counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). During this period, Marshall was asked by the United Nations and the United Kingdom to help draft the constitutions of the emerging African nations of Ghana and what is now Tanzania.
After amassing an impressive record of Supreme Court challenges to state-sponsored discrimination, including the landmark Brown v. Board decision in 1954, President John F. Kennedy appointed Thurgood Marshall to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In this capacity, he wrote over 150 decisions including support for the rights of immigrants, limiting government intrusion in cases involving illegal search and seizure, double jeopardy, and right to privacy issues. In 1965 President Lyndon Johnson appointed Judge Marshall to the office of U.S. Solicitor General. Before his subsequent nomination to the United States Supreme Court in 1967.
Thurgood Marshall won 14 of the 19 cases he argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of the government, more than any other American of his time.
Fundraising Target Amount: $3,188,640
A third of the target, $1 million, will go towards an endowment for the project with remainder put toward the acquisition and redevelopment of the property.