U.Md. to name new academic building after Thurgood Marshall

A new academic building on the University of Maryland campus will be named in honor of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

The college’s School of Public Policy will go by “Thurgood Marshall Hall” following a naming ceremony to be held later this month. The name pays homage to the civil rights advocate and litigator who successfully argued that segregation was unconstitutional in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

“This recognition serves as a testament to his legacy as an unapologetic trailblazer for justice and equality,” the Marshall family said in a statement shared by the university. “The inspiring work the school does every day to create the next generation of students embodies what was at his core —ensuring a more just and equitable world for all.”

According to the press release, the hall will support the school’s mission to advance the public good by drawing together students, faculty and other experts to foster discourse and action.

Marshall was born in Baltimore in 1908 and graduated at the top of his class at Howard University Law School, after he was denied admission to UMD’s law school in 1930 for being Black.

He went on to join the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and was part of the legal team that triumphed over UMD’s prejudicial admissions process in court.

That included cases where Marshall helped represent Parren Mitchell and Hiram Whittle, who were also rejected by the university for being Black. Mitchell would go on to become UMD’s first Black student to take graduate classes in 1950. Whittle enrolled as the college’s first Black undergrad student a year later.

Marshall became the nation’s first Black Supreme Court Justice in 1967, where he served for 24 years until retirement.

“There is no better name to bestow on this building than Thurgood Marshall’s,” said Robert C. Orr, dean of the School of Public Policy, in the press release. “Justice Marshall’s legacy in dismantling segregation, strengthening voting rights and promoting equal protection for every American is an inspiration to all of us.”

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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