Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice is a hit. Professor Larry Gibson’s new look at the early life of the iconic civil rights advocate has earned kudos from Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch, Washington civil rights leader Vernon E. Jordan Jr., and Benjamin Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Harvard Law Professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr. calls the biography “a page turner” whose “compelling story is a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand a great man and the history of the civil rights movement.”
And Thurgood Marshall Jr. was just as enthusiastic when he told The Baltimore Sun, “…this book is just amazing. On every page are stories that are filled with detail that we didn’t know anything about.” Young Thurgood is also the only biography of the late justice to be endorsed by his immediate family.
As Gibson says in a YouTube interview, he wrote the biography because he believed there needed to be “an accurate telling of [Thurgood Marshall’s] story, the story not just of what he did, but what kind of person he was…and the forces that shaped him.”
The book focuses on the environment—the state of Maryland—the people and the events of Marshall’s first 30 years, when, as a poor African American in segregated Baltimore, he was already starting to hone some of the skills that would propel him to the pinnacle of his profession. For instance, Marshall was an early advocate, Gibson reports, who began debating competitively at 13. By the time he reached law school, he was an accomplished advocate who had debated before audiences of thousands, although he didn’t begin to advocate for civil rights, Gibson notes, until he began to practice law.
Professor Gibson will celebrate Young Thurgood’s publication, Thursday, December 13 at Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Library, where he’ll be joined by UM Carey Law Dean Phoebe Haddon, Thurgood Marshall, Jr., Governor Martin O’Malley ‘88, US Representative Elijah Cummings ’76 and Ronald Shapiro, well known sports lawyer and author.