To protest against injustice is the foundation of all our American democracy.

— Thurgood Marshall

The most colorful Thurgood Marshall quotes that are free to learn and impress others

The measure of a country's greatness is its ability to retain compassion in time of crisis.


Lawlessness is lawlessness. Anarchy is anarchy is anarchy. Neither race nor color nor frustration is an excuse for either lawlessness or anarchy.


The process of democracy is one of change.

Our laws are not frozen into immutable form, they are constantly in the process of revision in response to the needs of a changing society.


A child born to a Black mother in a state like Mississippi.

.. has exactly the same rights as a white baby born to the wealthiest person in the United States. It's not true, but I challenge anyone to say it is not a goal worth working for.


In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.


The Ku Klux Klan never dies. They just stop wearing sheets because sheets cost too much.


History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure.


Mere access to the courthouse doors does not by itself assure a proper functioning of the adversary process.


The United States has been called the melting pot of the world.

But it seems to me that the colored man either missed getting into the pot or he got melted down.


To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today.


Classifications and distinctions based on race or color have no moral or legal validity in our society. They are contrary to our constitution and laws.


We can always stick together when we are losing, but tend to find means of breaking up when we're winning. In Grace under Pressure, by Hastie, 1984.


About Thurgood Marshall

Quotes 46 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Judge
Birthday October 16

I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories.

.. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust... We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.


The death penalty is no more effective a deterrent than life imprisonment.

.. It is also evident that the burden of capital punishment falls upon the poor, the ignorant and the underprivileged members of society.


I have a lifetime appointment and I intend to serve it.

I expect to die at 110, shot by a jealous husband.


Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds.


None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps.


The ban directly hampers the partys ability to spread its message and hamstrings voters seeking to inform themselves about the candidates and issues.


We must dissent from the fear.


Some years ago I said in an opinion that if this country is a melting pot, then either the Afro-Americans didn't get in the pot or he didn't get melted down.


What is the quality of your intent?


Today's Constitution is a realistic document of freedom only because of several corrective amendments. Those amendments speak to a sense of decency and fairness that I and other Blacks cherish.


Ending racial discrimination in jury selection can be accomplished only by eliminating peremptory challenges entirely.


I cannot accept this invitation [to celebrate the bicentenial of the Constitution], for I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever 'fixed' at the Philadelphia Convention... To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start. [Progressive]


If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.


It is now well established that the Constitution protects the right to receive information and ideas. ... This right to receive information and ideas, regardless of their social worth, ... is fundamental to our free society.


I'm the world's original gradualist. I just think ninety-odd years is gradual enough.


The First Amendment serves not only the needs of the polity but also those of the human spirit - a spirit that demands self-expression .


[It is] a historic step toward eliminating the shameful practice of racial discrimination in the selection of juries.


Surely the fact that a uniformed police officer is wearing his hair below his collar will make him no less identifiable as a policeman.


Customary greeting to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, What's shaking, chiefy baby?


Nothing can be more notorious than the calumnies and invectives with which the wisest measures and most virtuous characters of The United States have been pursued and traduced [By American Newspapers]


Truth is more than a mental exercise.


Do what you think is right and let the law catch up.


What is the quality of your intent? Certain people have a way of saying things that shake us at the core. Even when the words do not seem harsh or offensive, the impact is shattering. What we could be experiencing is the intent behind the words. When we intend to do good, we do. When we intend to do harm, it happens. What each of us must come to realize is that our intent always comes through.


Our Constitution is the envy of the world, as it should be for it is the grand design of the finest nation on earth.


A man can make what he wants of himself if he truly believes that he must be ready for hard work and many heartbreaks.


Sometimes history takes things into its own hands.


A child born to a Black mother in a state like Mississippi has exactly the same rights as a white baby born to the wealthiest person in the United States. It's not true, but I challenge anyone to say it is not a goal worth working for.


Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time and in the same place.


[T]he Constitution was a product of its times. [Progressive]


When in Gregg v. Georgia the Supreme Court gave its seal of approval to capital punishment, this endorsement was premised on the promise that capital punishment would be administered with fairness and justice. Instead, the promise has become a cruel and empty mockery. If not remedied, the scandalous state of our present system of capital punishment will cast a pall of shame over our society for years to come. We cannot let it continue.


Some may more quietly commemorate the suffering, struggle, and sacrifice that has triumphed over much of what was wrong with the original document, and observe the anniversary with hopes not realized and promises not fulfilled. I plan to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution as a living document, including the Bill of Rights and the other amendments protecting individual freedoms and human rights.


What's shaking, chiefy baby?


Patriotic feelings will surely swell, prompting proud proclamations of the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice shared by the Framers and reflected in a written document now yellowed with age . . . [F]or many Americans the bicentennial celebration will be little more than a blind pilgrimage to the shrine of the original document now stored in a vault in the National Archives. [Progressive]