The University of Maryland announced Monday that its new School of Public Policy building will be named after civil rights attorney and former US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Throughout his career, Marshall has played a key role in breaking down barriers for black and African-American students, including the desegregation of the University of Maryland. A celebration of the name will be held at the end of the month.
Born in Baltimore, Marshall was rejected from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1930 because he was black. Soon after graduating from Howard University Law School, where he ranked first in his class, Marshall joined the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. He sued the University of Maryland on behalf of another black student seeking admission to law school and was part of the team that initiated successful legal battles against the university on behalf of Parren Mitchell and Hiram Whittle, who were denied admission based on their race. In 1950, Mitchell became the first black student to take graduate classes on the College Park campus, and a year later Whittle enrolled as the university’s first black undergraduate.
Marshall continued to discuss the landmark case Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, which declared segregation unconstitutional. He was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1967 and served as an associate justice for 24 years.
Thurgood Marshall Hall supports the school’s mission to advance the public good by bringing together students, faculty, and other experts to foster world-changing political discourse and action.
The 77,000-square-foot building, which opened in the fall of 2022, united the school’s growing community under one roof for the first time in its 40-year history and offers state-of-the-art teaching and collaboration spaces for students , faculty and staff.