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Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme…

Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed… (2015)

by Wil Haygood

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Have you ever read a book that you loved but disliked; made you proud and "miffed;" but renewed your spirit? This was one of those books. I have always held Thurgood Marshall in high regards not because he was perfect because he was perfect in his imperfection. Growing up, I always knew he was on the Supreme Court; I knew he was the lawyer behind Brown v Board of Education but as a kid, I did not understand the depth of his selflessness to human kind. Yes, I said human kind because that is who he represented despite the focus on Blacks. Schools especially those in the USA should make this required reading. Why should it be required reading? Because kids need to understand the society from which America was formed. ( )
  vtlucania | Jul 25, 2017 |
5469. Showdown Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America, by Wil Haygood (read 12 May 2017), This is a 2015 book which tells of Thurgood Marshall's life and his nomination in 1967 by LBJ to the Supreme Court. That nomination was an important and good thing, but the author makes it into near run thing, which it wasn't. The Democrats had a substantial majority in the Senate and the Republicans did not oppose the nomination! (Today in the Senate a guy like Marshall probably would not get a single Republican vote.) Sure, the Southern senators were vehemently against him, as they were vehemently against desegregation, but there is no reason to believe that even a filibuster would have defeated the nomination and so I believe the author projects a false picture of the situation which he writes about. There are digressions having very limited relation to what the book's main theme is, and the writing is atrociously poor. The discussion of legal issues makes clear the author's lack of legal training. I read the author's biography of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., on 7 June 1996 and found it good reading. telling the good with the bad about Powell. This book is wholly eulogistic as to Marshall to such an extent that one cannot trust the author's objectivity--even though I strongly feel Marshall was a good man to have on the Court. The flaws of this book make it not worth reading ( )
  Schmerguls | May 12, 2017 |
Thurgood Marshall may not have worn a cape and tights, but he was, nevertheless, every inch a superhero.

Wil Haygood takes us back to Marshall’s childhood to tell us what it was like for a young, smart, ambitious kid growing up in a world in which he couldn’t even use most public bathrooms or be admitted to many restaurants and hotels. But this never diminished his spirit and determination. On the contrary, it inspired him further not only to achieve, but to work for change for everyone else.

This book uses the Senate confirmation hearings for Marshall’s Supreme Court nomination as scaffolding to structure his story; the author goes back and forth in time, basically telling in large part the history of black America from post-Reconstruction times onward. It is a nasty and brutal history which will often have you cringing (there are, for example, two blow-by-blow accounts of lynchings, though the accounts are quite germane), but will greatly enhance your understanding of the country as it is today.

Evaluation: If you only read about the life of one trailblazing hero, I recommend reading about Thurgood Marshall. His unparalleled bravery in spite of constant threats against his life, his unflagging dedication to others, and his unfailing good humor and optimism in the face of unrelenting efforts by whites to keep him down, is utterly amazing and inspirational.

I've seen some reviews opine that Devil in the Grove, also about Marshall, is superior to this book. I found it excellent as well, but the fact is, when you're writing about a true giant of a man like Marshall, it's hard to go wrong. ( )
  nbmars | Feb 11, 2016 |
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The hunger for Negro freedom began as soon as the first slave ships from West Africa and Brazil landed on America's shores.
John McClellan was going to stop Thurgood Marshall.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307957195, Hardcover)

Thurgood Marshall brought down the separate-but-equal doctrine, integrated schools, and not only fought for human rights and human dignity but also made them impossible to deny in the courts and in the streets. In this stunning new biography, award-winning author Wil Haygood surpasses the emotional impact of his inspiring best seller The Butler to detail the life and career of one of the most transformative legal minds of the past one hundred years.

Using the framework of the dramatic, contentious five-day Senate hearing to confirm Marshall as the first African-American Supreme Court justice, Haygood creates a provocative and moving look at Marshall’s life as well as the politicians, lawyers, activists, and others who shaped—or desperately tried to stop—the civil rights movement of the twentieth century: President Lyndon Johnson; Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., whose scandals almost cost Marshall the Supreme Court judgeship; Harry and Harriette Moore, the Florida NAACP workers killed by the KKK; Justice J. Waties Waring, a racist lawyer from South Carolina, who, after being appointed to the federal court, became such a champion of civil rights that he was forced to flee the South; John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy; Senator Strom Thurmond, the renowned racist from South Carolina, who had a secret black mistress and child; North Carolina senator Sam Ervin, who tried to use his Constitutional expertise to block Marshall’s appointment; Senator James Eastland of Mississippi, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who stated that segregation was “the law of nature, the law of God”; Arkansas senator John McClellan, who, as a boy, after Teddy Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to dinner at the White House, wrote a prize-winning school essay proclaiming that Roosevelt had destroyed the integrity of the presidency; and so many others.

This galvanizing book makes clear that it is impossible to overestimate Thurgood Marshall’s lasting influence on the racial politics of our nation.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 14 Jul 2015 23:24:28 -0400)

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