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This week in history: Thurgood Marshall dons ‘solemn robes of justice’

On Oct. 2, 1967, Thurgood Marshall made court history when he became the first Black man to be nominated to the country’s highest court.

Aug. 22, 1958 photo shows Thurgood Marshall outside the Supreme Court in Washington.
This Aug. 22, 1958 file photo shows Thurgood Marshall outside the Supreme Court in Washington.
AP

As reported in the Chicago Daily News, sister publication of the Chicago Sun-Times:

Next week, the Senate will begin the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett, but more than half a century ago this week, on Oct. 2, 1967, Thurgood Marshall made court history when he became the first Black man to be nominated to the country’s highest court.

“It was a historic hour for the court, and for this racially divided nation a time of meaningful change,” William J. Eaton wrote of the day in the Chicago Daily News.

“Husky, jovial, bluff and unflappable” Marshall, Eaton wrote, joined the nation’s highest court just as “stop-and-frisk” laws were “emerging as the court’s major bone of contention.”

“‘I intend to wear life like a loose garment and never worry,’” Eaton quoted Marshall as saying.

Eaton praised Marshall’s “dash and easy formality,” recounting how the newly-minted justice once evaded being lynched in Tennessee, and describing the defining role he played in ending school segregation.

President Johnson said Marshall’s seating would become a monument to opportunity — “‘a day on which we became more American than we have been before.’”