It is said that if you don’t know history, history repeats itself. The roots of racism in our country run deep and long and are as old as slavery, where it all began in 1641 when Massachusetts became the first colony to legalize it. Four centuries later, Black Lives Matter emerged because of current racial tension but this is nothing new. Their work rests on the shoulders of prominent figures such as Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thurgood Marshall was the great-grandson and grandson of slaves. He was the founder and director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, a nonprofit law firm separate from the NAACP, and his impact on the civil rights movement changed the course of our country’s history. Before he was appointed as the first African American Supreme Court Justice in 1967, Marshall argued (and often won) many cases before the Court – so many that earned the nickname “Mr. Civil Rights.” He is most well-known as the lawyer who won the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case, which forced integration at public schools. “Marshall” is the true story of the greatest challenge in his early days: the case of black chauffeur Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown) accused by his white employer, Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson), of sexual assault and attempted murder. The outcome of that case would set the tone for the modern-day fight for equal rights.
Interestingly, Marshall is played by Chadwick Boseman, who will star in the soon-to-be-released film “Black Panther,” based on the black Marvel Comics character. The director of “Marshall,” Reginald Hudlin, wrote Black Panther stories for Marvel for a few years. Boseman has skillfully portrayed two other prominent African Americans in history, Jackie Robinson and James Brown. Recent films such as “Hidden Figures” have resurrected little-known historical moments; “Marshall,” which is set to open on October 13, is the latest such film. Perhaps this knowledge will enable history to not repeat itself.
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