I am from Kansas, a civil rights geek, and I went to law school while Thurgood Marshall was on the U.S. Supreme Court. I never heard him mentioned by name while I was in law school but I knew he had worked for the NAACP, had argued Brown vs. Board of Education (Kansas) before the United States Supreme Court, and in 1967 became the first black person to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court.
To date, there have only been 3 judges of color on the United States Supreme Court, Thurgood, Clarence Thomas, and Sonia Sotomoyor.
Marshall takes place in 1941 in Connecticut on a rape/kidnapping and attempted murder child and centers around one of the first cases Thurgood worked on. The film was written by a first time father/son screen writing team with the father a Connecticut civil rights lawyer.
The NAACP’s mission was ” . . . to defend people falsely accused of a crime because of their race.”
Thurgood subsequently argued 32 cases before the United States Supreme Court and lost only 3.
Thurgood attended undergraduate with Langston Hughes and Cab Calloway. The former has a cameo in the film portrayed by Jussie Smollet. There is also a screen credit for “Langston’s boyfriend” and a cameo screen credit for Zora Neale Hurston.
Chadwick Boseman is outstanding as the title character. Shout out to Keesha Sharp for protraying Thurgood’s first wife, Buster; James Cromwell as the judge in the case; Roger Guenveur Smith as the head of the NAACP and Thurgood’s boss; Kate Hudson as the accuser in the trial; and Andra Day as the singer in the night club and the end song, Stand for Something, written by Diane Warren and Common.
Best line, on a character’s honesty: “If you dropped a nickel while kicking him in the balls he would return the nickel.”
This is the first movie that Reginald Hudlin directed in 15 years and the first non-comedy he directed.
If you like courtroom dramas with a back story, I recommend Marshall.
Peace, love, joy, gratitude, faith, courage, compassion, and blessings.