The University of Maryland will name its new School of Public Policy building in honor of the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Marshall, a Baltimore native, was the first Black to serve on the high court and served a stint as an appeals court judge. Before joining the bench, he served as a leading attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and argued the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954 in which the Supreme Court declared segregated public schools unconstitutional.
Marshall, who was rejected by the University of Maryland School of Law for admission in 1930 because of his race, attended the Howard University School of Law in D.C., graduating first in his class.
He later sued the University of Maryland to admit another Black student to the law school and, as a part of a legal team, to gain the admittance of Parren Mitchell in 1950 as its first Black graduate student and Hiram Whittle in 1951 as its first African American undergraduate. Mitchell would later become the first Black to serve in the U.S. Congress representing Maryland.
“Thurgood Marshall was a trailblazer for justice and a pioneer as the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court,” said President Darryll J. Pines. “He fought for landmark civil rights including access to our university by all of its citizens. Assigning his name to the School of Public Policy building honors his contributions to our university, state and nation.”
The official naming ceremony will take place at the end of the month.
“This recognition serves as a testament to his legacy as an unapologetic trailblazer for justice and equality,” the Marshall family said in a statement. “The inspiring work the School does every day to create the next generation of students embodies what was at his core — ensuring a more just and equitable world for all.”