Delta Sigma Theta Sorority to Host National Red Carpet for MARSHALL - In Theatres Through the USi

By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Hello All:

I'm busting with Lincoln University and Delta Sigma Theta Pride - all at the same time - which means that I am walking in very high cotton.  Reginald Hudlin, of the Hudlin Brothers fame, has produced and released a dynamic biopic on the life of the Great Thurgood Marshall - the only - I say ONLY - Black Supreme Court Justice - who graduated from LINCOLN UNIVERSITY - which set him on his course of activism and advocacy early on.  

We are so proud to have been the progenitor of this great brother.  And while his fellow Frat Brother, Roland Martin brags on his being a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, he has to also remember that he pledged and crossed at Lincoln University.

Not only are we proud of Lincoln University's part in the development of this great brother and his subsequent contribution to the world; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority is hosting a nationwide Red Carpet in support of this wonderful movie in theaters throughout the US.  

Chadwick  Boseman, who also starred in the James Brown biopic, portrays a young Thurgood Marshall just starting out in his career, prior to Brown V Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, and being appointed to the Supreme Court.
For those of us who thought that the only thing that Thurgood Marshall was famous for was being a Supreme Court Justice, this will be a very revealing and inspiring movie  Marshall, whose nickname was "Goodie" while a student at Lincoln University.

Thurgood Marshall in 1936 at the beginning of his career with the NAACP
As you can see, he was a Fine Black Man

Thurgood Marshall was born on July 2, 1908 in  Baltimore, MD.  According to reports his great grandfather  was originally from the Congo, and was kidnapped and dragged to the US as a slave.  His name came from his grandfather, who was originally called Thoroughgood - the spelling was changed to Thurgood for simplification.  His dad, William Marshall, was a Pullman Porter, and his mom, Ms. Norma Marshall, was an educator. As a child he attended Frederick Douglass High School n Baltimore.  He was an intelligent student (thanks to his parents), maintained a B average, was top in his class, and graduated early and entered Lincoln University, PA.

While some thought he wanted to be a dentist, he became interested in law while at Lincoln U.  According to his original application to Lincoln, he was interested in become a lawyer - something unheard of in Maryland at that time, which is probably why he chose to attend Lincoln - then known as The Black Princeton. He majored in American Literature and and philosophy.   His classmates included the great musician and entertainer, Cab Calloway, Nnamdi Azikewe  (who became the first President of Nigeria), Langston Hughes, among others. 
He was very much a party animal, and was suspended twice for hazing and pranking his classmates  - hence the nickname "Goodie," because he was always up for a good time.  He was a member of the debate team, which eventually spurred his interest in civil rights.  Or it may have been because Lincoln was routinely threatened by the KKK from the surrounding area of Maryland - in addition to the racism in the surrounding community that refused service to the students.  

According to Wikipedia as a student at Lincoln, he opposed the integration of African American professors to Lincoln.  Langston Hughes is purported to have called  him "rough and ready, loud and wrong." After having participated in a sit in  demonstration against a segregated movie theatre in Oxford, PA, he began to have a more determined sense of purpose and started taking an active interest in fighting injustice for the least of these - Black people who didn't have a voice, and didn't have access to legal means.  But he was a long way from realizing that goal.  He married in 1929 to Vivien Burey.  He graduated from Lincoln with honors, receiving a BA in Humanities from Lincoln. He was tops in his class at Lincoln and the head of his class at Howard as well.  His intention was to go to law school in Maryland; however the pre-existing predominance of racism prevented him from attending the University of Maryland.  He ended up attending Howard for his law degree, under his mentor, Dr. Charles Hamilton Houston.   where he graduated at the head of his class. ]
Marshall Graduated from Lincoln University in 1930 and from Howard University in 1933.

He had been named legal counsel to the NAACP shortly after having passed the bar, and served in that capacity from 1938 through 1967.  His primary focus at that time was not necessarily Civil Rights, but providing counsel to Blacks who were facing racist injustice  It's what called him to Connecticut to defend a Black man who had been accused of attempting to rape a white woman.  Without giving away the entire plot, let's just say that the year was 1940, segregation, racism, and lynching were still in effect.  Marshall soon finds out that being in the North gives him no real advantage - while he is allowed to be in the courtroom - the racist northern judicial system will not allow  him to speak in court in order to represent his client.

It is because of this that the NAACP teams him up with a Jewish (white) lawyer - Mr. Friedman, who is dealing with issues of his own via anti semitism.  This takes place just prior to WWII and Pearl Harbor.  This movie gives a glimpse into so many aspects of the Marshall Persona - not just the dignified personage everyone had become accustomed to seeing in his latter years - but the audacious, yet contemplative Marshall. 

Thurgood Marshall photographed in 1967 in the Oval Office
This is the Thurgood Marshall I met in 1965 at Hampton Institute when
he came to give the keynote speech for the graduating class.

I had the great privilege of meeting the great man before he became Supreme Court Justice in the late Spring of 1965 when I served as usher for the graduating class.  I had the privilege of escorting him to the stage - and the pleasure of a brief conversation with him.  He had a great sense of humor and an easy going manner.  I was awestruck that he even spoke to me, let alone had a conversation.  I will never forget it as long as I live.

I am looking forward to the screening of this great movie - as we should all be - and being a part of taking it over the top with our support as Black people for a Black man who did so much for us, and whose legacy continues to live on.

I vividly remember when he stepped down from the bench on the Supreme Court, and they asked him why he was retiring.  He candidly said (paraphrasing), "because I'm dying. I've waited for them to bring another Black man to the Supreme Court.  I can't wait any longer.  There's an undertaker walking behind me measuring me for a grave."   He never lost his humor, nor his sense of purpose or his Blackness.

For movie times and dates, consult your local newspapers, or local theaters. 

Long live the memory and legacy of the great Thurgood Marshall.  

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