Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary

Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary

by Juan Williams
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Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary by Juan Williams

This New York Times Notable Book of the Year, 1998, is now in trade paper.

From the bestselling author of Eyes on the Prize, here is the definitive biography of the great lawyer and Supreme Court justice.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812932997
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 02/28/2000
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 461
Sales rank: 129,247
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 15 - 18 Years

About the Author

Juan Williams has been a political analyst and national correspondent for The Washington Post for twenty-one years. He has written for Fortune,The Atlantic Monthly, Ebony, GQ, and Newsweek, for which he is a regular columnist. Mr. Williams has earned widespread critical acclaim for a series of documentaries, including one that won him an Emmy Award. His numerous and frequent television appearances include Oprah, Nightline, Washington Week in Review, CNN's Crossfire (where he often served as co-host), and Capitol Gang Sunday. Currently a regular panelist on Fox News Sunday, he lives in Washington, D.C.

Read an Excerpt

Right Time, Right Man?

Rumors flew that night. Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark had resigned a few hours earlier. By that Monday evening, Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall and his wife, Cissy, heard that the president was set to name Clark's replacement the very next morning. At the Marshalls' small green town house on G Street in Southwest Washington, D.C., the phone was ringing. Friends, family, and even politicians were calling to see if Thurgood had heard anything about his chances for the job. But all the Marshalls could say was that they had heard rumors.

As Marshall dressed for Clark's retirement party on that muggy Washington night of June 12, 1967, he looked at his reflection in the mirror. Years ago some of his militant critics had called him "half-white" for his straight hair, pointed nose, and light tan skin. Now, at fifty-eight, his face had grown heavy, with sagging jowls and dark bags under his eyes. His once black hair, even his mustache, was now mostly a steely gray. And he looked worried. He did have on a good dark blue suit, the uniform of a Washington power player. But the conservative suit looked old and out of place in an era of Afros and dashikis. And even the best suit might not be strong enough armor for the high-stakes political fight he was preparing for tonight. At this moment the six-foot-two-inch Marshall, who weighed well over two hundred pounds, felt powerless. He was fearful that he was about to lose his only chance to become a Supreme Court justice.

Staring in the mirror as if it were a crystal ball, Marshall could see clearly only that he would have one last chance to convince the president he was the right man. That chance would come tonight at Justice Clark's retirement party.
In his two years as solicitor general there had been constant rumors floating around the capital about Marshall being positioned by the president to become the first black man on the high court. However, with one exception, no one at the White House had ever spoken to him about the job. That exception was President Lyndon Johnson. Whenever Johnson talked about the Supreme Court in front of him, the tall, intense Texan made a point of turning to Marshall, thrusting a finger in his face, and reminding him there was no promise that he would ever have a job on the high court.

But Johnson was privately talking about putting Marshall on the Supreme Court. For a southern politician, Johnson had a strong sense of racial justice. As a skinny twenty-year-old, he had taught school to poor Hispanic children in south Texas and seen firsthand the disadvantages they faced. Now Johnson's fabled political instincts had drawn him to the idea that he would be hailed by history as the president who put the first black on the Supreme Court. The president had set the wheels in motion by making Marshall the nation's first black solicitor general. And he had confided to his wife, Lady Bird, that he wanted to appoint Marshall to the Supreme Court. But the president had been having second thoughts about Marshall. Was he really a good lawyer? And what about talk that Marshall was lazy? Was it realistic to think he could win enough votes to get by white racists in the Senate and be confirmed?

As he finished getting ready for the party, Marshall replayed all the rumors he had heard about why the president was reluctant to appoint him to the high court. Thinking about it, Marshall got grumpy, then angry. His chance to be in the history books as the first black man on the Supreme Court was fading, and he felt abandoned. The word around the capital was that the nomination would be announced tomorrow. Marshall had heard nothing from the White House.

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTSxi
INTRODUCTIONxv
FAMILY TREExix
1. Right Time, Right Man?3
2. A Fighting Family15
3. Educating Thurgood24
4. Waking Up40
5. Turkey52
6. His Own Man61
7. Getting Started75
8. Leaving Home86
9. 69 Fifth Avenue93
10. Marshall in Charge101
11. Pan of Bones113
12. The War Years122
13. Lynch Mob for a Lawyer131
14. Jim Crow Buster143
15. Groveland152
16. Lessons in Politics158
17. On the Front Line167
18. Direct Attack174
19. Number OneNegro of All Time187
20. Planning a Revolt195
21. Case of the Century209
22. No Radical228
23. Martin Luther King, Jr245
24. Machiavellian Marshall253
25. The Second Civil War263
26. Marshall and the Militants275
27. Exit Time284
28. Black Robes296
29. Johnson's Man313
30. Justice Marshall332
31. Backlash on the Court353
32. Hangin' On374
33. Resurrection397
NOTES405
RESOURCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY431
PRINCIPAL CASES CITED437
INDEX441

What People are Saying About This

Bob Dole

Williams gives readers a dynamic work to savor and study.

Maya Angelou

A careful and engrossing account of Thurgood Marshall's true life.

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