Marshall’s first case out of graduate school was a successful lawsuit leveled against the University of Maryland, this time for not admitting an African American named Donald Gaines Murray.
Marshall was just getting warmed up.
He followed Houston to New York to become a staff lawyer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a group founded in part by W.E.B DuBois, pictured at right. Four years later, he was named chief of the NAACP Legal Defense.
In this capacity, Marshall tore down state laws that denied African Americans the right to vote in primaries and provided for “separate but equal” facilities for African Americans at universities. His crowning achievement was his work in the case Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka. Using arguments still studied in law schools today for their excellence, Marshall convinced the Supreme Court to rule that segregation was illegal and unconstitutional since it violated the 14th amendment.
Marshall was unstoppable as the head lawyer of the NAACP. He won 29 of the 30 cases he argued before the Supreme Court.