Thurgood Marshall was appointed to the United States Supreme Court by President Lyndon Johnson, becoming the first Black U.S. Supreme Court justice. A staunch opponent of discrimination based on race or sex, he would serve on the bench for 24 years. He also defended affirmative action and women's right to abortion; fought for the rights of criminal defendants; and opposed the death penalty.
After receiving a law degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1933, Marshall joined the legal counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He won 29 cases for the organization, including a landmark victory in 1954's Brown v. Board of Education case, the result of which formally ended segregation in all United States public schools. He retired from the bench in 1991, and passed away at the age of 84 on Jan. 24, 1993.
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