By Michael G. Long, Amistad, $27.99, 412 pages
Before Thurgood Marshall served as a United States Supreme Court Justice, he was a key player in the fight against discrimination. His early career as an attorney with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is impressive and well deserving of a place in the record of the Civil Rights Movement.
Marshalling Justice: The Early Civil Rights Letters of Thurgood Marshall chronicles the tireless efforts of one man who used all his resources to combat discrimination. While some were content to settle for small compromises in civil rights, Marshall refused, stating “It is one thing to ‘take’ segregation that is forced upon you, and it is another thing to ask for segregation.”
Author Michael Long’s introductions frame up these long overlooked letters, doing much to enhance their readability. This collection is critical to understanding what African Americans were up against in the years between the end of slavery and integration; how hard they had to fight to secure their rights and then acquire the freedom to exercise those rights. How different the world might be today were it not for the sharp mind and fierce determination of this man who without a doubt paved the way for later civil rights activists.
Reviewed by Alicea Swett