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Cecilia ‘Cissy’ Marshall, former NAACP authorized secretary and widow of first Black Supreme Court docket justice, dies – Baltimore Solar

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WASHINGTON — Cecilia “Cissy” Marshall, the spouse of the late Supreme Court docket Justice Thurgood Marshall who labored alongside the civil rights champion on the NAACP, died Tuesday on the age of 94, the Supreme Court docket introduced.

Ms. Marshall’s husband, born and raised in Baltimore, turned the excessive court docket’s first Black justice in 1967 following a profession as a civil rights lawyer through which he argued the landmark Brown v. Board of Schooling case that outlawed segregation in public colleges. He retired from the Supreme Court docket in 1991 and died in 1993 on the age of 84.

Cecilia “Cissy” Suyat Marshall was born in Hawaii on July 20, 1928. She later moved to New York Metropolis and took night time lessons at Columbia College to develop into a stenographer. An employment workplace despatched her in 1948 to work on the Nationwide Affiliation for the Development of Coloured Folks.

“The clerk, she noticed my darkish pores and skin, and she or he despatched me to the nationwide workplace of the NAACP,” she mentioned in a 2016 interview. “That’s the solely cause I can consider that she despatched me to the NAACP for my first job. And to at the present time, I thank her, as a result of had it not been for her, I wouldn’t have recognized something a couple of race drawback.”

Ms. Marshall, who was of Filipino descent, mentioned that “having been born within the Hawaiian islands we by no means had that racial issues, and so working with the NAACP opened my eyes.”

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, right, stands with his family as they watch him take his seat at the court for the first time, Oct. 2, 1967. From left are Marshall's son Thurgood, Jr., 11, wife, Cecilia "Cissy," and son John, 9. Marshall joined the Supreme Court in 1967 as the court's first Black justice.

It was additionally on the NAACP that she met her future husband. A authorized secretary, she labored on quite a lot of instances and was there for the case of the so-called Groveland 4, the 4 younger Black males falsely accused of raping a white girl in Florida. She additionally helped take notes and kind briefs as Mr. Marshall ready for arguments within the Brown v. Board of Schooling case, which was argued in 1952 and 1953.

In interviews later in life, she recalled the celebration after Brown was determined.

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“I don’t learn about you fools,” she recalled Mr. Marshall saying sooner or later through the festivities, “however I’m going again to work. Our work has simply begun.”

Mr. Marshall’s first spouse, Vivien Burey, died of most cancers in 1955. He and Ms. Marshall married later that yr. She left the NAACP after they wed.

However the marriage nearly didn’t occur, she mentioned, and never due to their 20-year age distinction. She mentioned many individuals nonetheless thought of her to be “a foreigner,” and she or he frightened in regards to the response. “When Thurgood proposed I mentioned, ‘No manner,’” she recalled in 2013. She mentioned he insisted: “I’m marrying you. I’m not marrying the nation and so they’re not marrying me.”

They’d two sons, Thurgood Jr. and John. It wasn’t till simply earlier than Mr. Marshall joined the Supreme Court docket that the justices dominated in Loving v. Virginia that legal guidelines in 16 states barring interracial marriage couldn’t stand.

In a press release, Chief Justice John Roberts referred to as Ms. Marshall a “vibrant and engaged member of the Court docket household” who commonly attended court docket occasions. “You needed to take a seat subsequent to her at any occasion,” he wrote. “She had a simple humorousness that might be — in an applicable setting, in fact — a bit saucy.”

Justice Elena Kagan, who was a legislation clerk to Mr. Marshall, referred to as Ms. Marshall a “marvelous girl” and wrote: “Each clerk to Justice Marshall acquired a form of bonus: the steadfast friendship and help of his spouse Cissy.”

The Supreme Court docket mentioned funeral preparations have been pending. Mr. Marshall was buried at Arlington Nationwide Cemetery in Washington in a part of the cemetery the place quite a lot of different former justices have been buried.



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