45 Inspirational Thurgood Marshall Quotes On Success In Life

Thurgood Marshall was an American lawyer and civil rights activist who served as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from October 1967 until October 1991. Marshall was the Court’s first African-American justice. Prior to his judicial service, he successfully argued several cases before the Supreme Court, including Brown v. Board of Education. These Thurgood Marshall quotes will motivate you.

Best Thurgood Marshall Quotes

  1. “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 from a nation that has buried its head in the sand, waiting in vain for the needs of its poor, its elderly, and its sick to disappear and just blow away. We must dissent from a government that has left its young without jobs, education or hope. We must dissent from the poverty of vision and the absence of moral leadership. We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  2. “To protest against injustice is the foundation of all our American democracy.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  3. “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody – a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns – bent down and helped us pick up our boots.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  4. “A man can make what he wants of himself if he truly believes that he must be ready for hard work and many heartbreaks.” ~ Thurgood Marshall

  5. “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.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  6. “The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in time of crisis.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  7. “Do what you think is right and let the law catch up.” ~ Thurgood Marshall

  8. “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.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  9. “Lawlessness is lawlessness. Anarchy is anarchy is anarchy. Neither race nor color nor frustration is an excuse for either lawlessness or anarchy.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  10. “The Ku Klux Klan never dies. They just stop wearing sheets because sheets cost too much.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  11. “In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” ~ Thurgood Marshall

  12. “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.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  13. “History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  14. “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.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  15. “Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time and in the same place.” ~ Thurgood Marshall

  16. “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.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  17. “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.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  18. “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.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  19. “Mere access to the courthouse doors does not by itself assure a proper functioning of the adversary process.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  20. “Truth is more than a mental exercise.” ~ Thurgood Marshall

  21. “Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men’s minds.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  22. “I have a lifetime appointment and I intend to serve it. I expect to die at 110, shot by a jealous husband.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  23. “Sometimes history takes things into its own hands.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  24. “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.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  25. “We must dissent from the fear.” ~ Thurgood Marshall

  26. “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.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  27. “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.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  28. “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps.” ~ Thurgood Marshall

  29. “Our Constitution is the envy of the world, as it should be for it is the grand design of the finest nation on earth.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  30. “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.” ~ Thurgood Marshall Quotes
  31. “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.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  32. “What is the quality of your intent?” ~ Thurgood Marshall

  33. “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.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  34. “I cannot accept this invitation [to celebrate the bicentennial 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]” ~ Thurgood Marshall Quotes
  35. “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.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  36. “The ban directly hampers the partys ability to spread its message and hamstrings voters seeking to inform themselves about the candidates and issues.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  37. “I’m the world’s original gradualist. I just think ninety-odd years is gradual enough.” ~ Thurgood Marshall

  38. “The First Amendment serves not only the needs of the polity but also those of the human spirit – a spirit that demands self-expression .” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  39. “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]” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  40. “[T]he Constitution was a product of its times. [Progressive]” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  41. “What’s shaking, chiefy baby?” ~ Thurgood Marshall

  42. “Customary greeting to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, What’s shaking, chiefy baby?” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  43. “[It is] a historic step toward eliminating the shameful practice of racial discrimination in the selection of juries.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  44. “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]” ~ Thurgood Marshall
  45. “Surely the fact that a uniformed police officer is wearing his hair below his collar will make him no less identifiable as a policeman.” ~ Thurgood Marshall

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