He wanted JUSTICE and EQUALITY Under the Law. Was that too much to ask?
Thurgood Marshall is one of the giant figures in the history of American jurisprudence. As the passionate and embattled civil rights lawyer who acted as the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, KS, he helped win the U.S. Supreme Court decision to legally end racial segregation in the public schools in the United States. He was the first African American to serve as Solicitor General of the United States and became the first African American to serve as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
The movie portrays Marshall as an old man as he ruminates and relives past trials and victories and uses Marshall's mastery of language, storytelling and imitation to create a powerful presentation. He is direct without being too rude and he "tells it like it is" without prevarication. His sense of humor and equanimity counteract some of the bitterness he felt in his long journey. His legal arguments and masterful rhetorical style are at once evocative and entertaining. Using Marshall's own writings and reflections, the movie explores the discrimination he faced as he tried to enter law school, practice as a lawyer and defend the civil rights of others. The movie shines a light on prejudice in the legal profession and the barriers to hiring that prevent full participation of lawyers of color, women lawyers and those with other cultural origins and religious and sexual preferences – with the hope of eliminating biases in the legal profession. One of the best compliments received from one lawyer attending the program was, “The program made me feel what it was like to be Thurgood Marshall.” Feeling what discrimination is like is a step to helping us overcome prejudice.
The movie is followed by a filmed panel discussion and a live Moderated Chat Room in which attendees can ask questions and offer comment about ethical and bias concerns in the legal profession.