On this day in 1967, Thurgood Marshall was appointed to the nation’s highest court by President Lyndon Johnson, becoming the first Black U.S. Supreme Court justice.
A staunch opponent of discrimination, he would serve on the bench for 24 years. He also defended affirmative action and 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 NAACP. 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 in 1993 at 84 years old.