Students and faculty gathered February 23 to watch and discuss the newly released film, Thurgood, in an event sponsored by the Multicultural Law Caucus to mark Black History Month. Laurence Fishburne, portraying Thurgood Marshall, lead his audience through the life of this former U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice, the Court’s first African American justice, serving from 1967 through 1991.
After the film, Professors Laurent, Pearson, and Gillmer facilitated a discussion on the film and the status of the law regarding discrimination and race-based remedies. Students reflected on the value of the Constitution’s Equal Protection clause today, considering the steps still required to end de facto segregation in society.
The film portrayed the life experiences that created Marshall’s commitment to social justice in his legal career: from his observation of the treatment of Black inmates outside of his childhood classroom window, to the encouragement his professors lent to challenge the system of segregation, to his own experience with police who escorted him to a planned lynching.