A Pillar of Justice
Paul Conrad (b. 1924)
Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993)
copyright Los Angeles Times
Ink on paper, 1993
Prints & Photographs Division
Long before President Lyndon Baines Johnson appointed
him the first African-American Supreme Court justice in 1967,
Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) had established himself as the nation's
leading legal civil rights advocate. After receiving his law degree
from Howard University in 1933, he joined the legal staff of the
NAACP about 1936, and between 1940 and 1961 served as head of
the organization's Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which he
In 1954, Marshall achieved national recognition
for his work on Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka,
the landmark Supreme Court decision that ruled public school segregation
unconstitutional. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed
Marshall to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and four years later President
Johnson named him solicitor general of the United States.
In 1967 he joined the Supreme Court led by Chief
Justice Earl Warren. For twenty-five years, until his retirement
in 1991, Marshall led the legal fight to end racial discrimination
in America. The Library holds a significant collection of his
personal papers, both in the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Collection,
and the Thurgood Marshall Papers.
Editorial cartoonist Paul Conrad (b. 1924) created
this poignant tribute to Marshall upon Marshall's death in 1993.
Creator of drawings notable for their potent political message,
strong graphic style, spare compositions, and conceptual clarity,
Conrad began his professional career in 1950 as an editorial cartoonist
at the Denver Post. In 1964 he went to work for the Los
Angeles Times, where he served as chief editorial cartoonist
until 1993. Conrad won Pulitzer Prizes in 1964, 1971, and 1984.