Below are famous Justice Thurgood Marshall quotes with images that are derived from his writings and speeches.

Marshall was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 2, 1908. His original name was Thoroughgood, but he shortened it to Thurgood. He was descended from slaves on both sides. He graduated from the Howard University School of Law in 1933. He started working as a lawyer and later served as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Stated. He was Supreme Court’s first African American Justice.


We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust. We must dissent from a nation that has buried its head in the sand, waiting in vain for the needs of its poor, its elderly, and its sick to disappear and just blow away. We must dissent from a government that has left its young without jobs, education or hope. We must dissent from the poverty of vision and the absence of moral leadership. We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.
Thurgood Marshall Quotes

Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time and in the same place.
Thurgood Marshall

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.
Thurgood Marshall

Truth is more than a mental exercise.
Thurgood Marshall

justice thurgood marshall quotes

To protest against injustice is the foundation of all our American democracy.
Thurgood Marshall Quotes

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. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust…We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.
Thurgood Marshall

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

None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps.
Thurgood Marshall

Nothing can be more notorious than the calumnies and invectives with which the wisest measures and most virtuous characters of The United States have been pursued and traduced [By American Newspapers]
Thurgood Marshall

justice thurgood marshall quotes

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.
Thurgood Marshall Quotes

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

Today’s Constitution is a realistic document of freedom only because of several corrective amendments. Those amendments speak to a sense of decency and fairness that I and other Blacks cherish.
Thurgood Marshall

Some years ago I said in an opinion that if this country is a melting pot, then either the Afro-Americans didn’t get in the pot or he didn’t get melted down.
Thurgood Marshall

justice thurgood marshall quotes

The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis.
Thurgood Marshall Quotes

You do what you think is right and let the law catch up,
Thurgood Marshall

We must dissent from the fear.
Thurgood Marshall

Some may more quietly commemorate the suffering, struggle, and sacrifice that has triumphed over much of what was wrong with the original document, and observe the anniversary with hopes not realized and promises not fulfilled. I plan to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution as a living document, including the Bill of Rights and the other amendments protecting individual freedoms and human rights.
Thurgood Marshall

justice thurgood marshall quotes

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. What we could be experiencing is the intent behind the words. When we intend to do good, we do. When we intend to do harm, it happens. What each of us must come to realize is that our intent always comes through.
Thurgood Marshall Quotes

A man can make what he wants of.
Thurgood Marshall

Sometimes history takes things into its own hands.
Thurgood Marshall

I’m the world’s original gradualist. I just think ninety-odd years is gradual enough.
Thurgood Marshall

justice thurgood marshall quotes

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

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.
Thurgood Marshall Quotes

Ending racial discrimination in jury selection can be accomplished only by eliminating peremptory challenges entirely.
Thurgood Marshall

I cannot accept this invitation [to celebrate the bicentenial of the Constitution], for I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever ‘fixed’ at the Philadelphia Convention… To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start. [Progressive]
Thurgood Marshall

Surely the fact that a uniformed police officer is wearing his hair below his collar will make him no less identifiable as a policeman.
Thurgood Marshall
thurgood marshall quote

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

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

If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.
Thurgood Marshall

Our Constitution is the envy of the world, as it should be for it is the grand design of the finest nation on earth.
Thurgood Marshall

thurgood marshall quote

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.
Thurgood Marshall Quotes

In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.
Thurgood Marshall

What is the quality of your intent?
Thurgood Marshall

It is now well established that the Constitution protects the right to receive information and ideas. … This right to receive information and ideas, regardless of their social worth, … is fundamental to our free society.
Thurgood Marshall

[It is] a historic step toward eliminating the shameful practice of racial discrimination in the selection of juries.
Thurgood Marshall

Customary greeting to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, What’s shaking, chiefy baby?
Thurgood Marshall

thurgood marshall quote

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.
Thurgood Marshall Quotes

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.
Thurgood Marshall

The ban directly hampers the partys ability to spread its message and hamstrings voters seeking to inform themselves about the candidates and issues,
Thurgood Marshall

[T]he Constitution was a product of its times. [Progressive]
Thurgood Marshall

thurgood marshall quote

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.
Thurgood Marshall

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

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

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, by Hastie, 1984.
Thurgood Marshall

What’s shaking, chiefy baby?
Thurgood Marshall

The First Amendment serves not only the needs of the polity but also those of the human spirit- a spirit that demands self-expression .
Thurgood Marshall Quotes

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