Analysis of Thurgood Marshall, American Revolutionary

1990 (4 pages)
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In Thurgood Marshall- American Revolutionary, William Juan takes a critical exploration of the life of Marshall; who is regarded as a seminal personality in America’s history during the 20th century. This groundbreaking work of fiction undertakes a journey into the definitive biography of the celebrated Supreme Court Justice and lawyer in attempts to understand the roles he played in the quest for civil liberty. Juan Williams is highly renowned for his talent for authoring works of non-fiction with a keen focus on the history of the United States. His rich experience is largely attributed to his position as the collaborator of America’s Black Forum, the nationally accredited television show that focuses on exploring a myriad of social and political issues that affect African-Americans. Consequently, the piece is a valuable resource for those students, scholars, and other audiences who are concerned with the struggle for individual and civil rights. The account of Thurgood’s professional and personal life is an inspiration for social change to minorities in America who may feel threatened by the proposed immigration policies that seem to target particular ethnic groups. Thurgood imagined an American society that invoked the law as an agent of socio-political transformation for the creation of a new and better vision for the United States.

The book’s content mostly revolves around the professional life of Thurgood Marshall and the nature of America’s legal system in the 1950s. The author adopts first-person narration to bring out vital pieces of Thurgood’s law practice as a member of a minority group. The gusto and confidence with which Williams speaks during his opening statements is evidence enough that he knows Thurgood from both personal and professional levels of interactions. He has expertly made his audience to note that Thurgood is not a special character by virtue of being a wealthy person or being a member of an influential family in America. William states that Thurgood does not have a place in the attractive image of Americans. Firstly, he was not a dashing, handsome man during his early years at the Supreme Court (William 443). Secondly, he made rare public appearances, and when he did, it was for a very worthy cause or responsibility. Despite all those sets of unpleasant realities, Thurgood was a figure of something rather unique when it comes to American law and imagination (Long). What attracts a person to the life of Thurgood is the manner in which he lived his life (in servitude to others and to a worthy cause) and his professional achievements. The latter continue to form a critical pillar in the justice system of the United States. As a notable counsel of the NAACP, Thurgood is celebrated simply because he nobly used his position to agitate for equal social status for African Americans.

Born in 1908, the early life of Thurgood Marshal was highly surrounded by traces of racial segregation. During this time, the legal system of the United States was heavily manipulated by the 1996 law. The Ferguson versus Plessy case stirred nationwide anticipation, and the judges did not fail the majority by formalizing a legal code that established a form of separate but equal consideration for white and black people (William 444). As a result, African America children, such as Thurgood Marshall and the rest, were compelled to attend segregated education centers (Kinslow and Jerry 348). It seems that fate had already selected Marshall Thurgood from his early years for his discontent at the conditions of segregation that started to manifest themselves. Somehow, his mind began to contemplate a different world that considers all human beings as equal and treats them with the same accord. The conflict in the literature arises at the point where Marshall Thurgood and other like-minded Americans began to agitate for legal reforms in a world where the vast majority persisted and insisted on limited thinking.

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William has been tactical in triggering the suspense of his audience at this point; for he makes them ask themselves: how was young Thurgood able to grasp abstract legal issues to the extent of bearing ambitions of becoming the next agent of change. William even admits that he was initially not willing to commence the biography since he did not find it interesting to explore his life (444). It is because, in their first meeting, William found Thurgood to be an old, outdated man who appeared to be out of touch with reality. Neither did he respond to his phone calls nor letters when he was seeking him out for an interview (McCarthy). On the contrary, his low profiled life seemed to be the catalyst that helped to propel his agenda to the next level. It is because his vision was admitted into popular culture with limited rebuttals because people did not see any significant point in the simple, introverted personality. William provides that people did not know much of him. His legs were sticky, and it was visible to note that he wore white support hose: socks that are worn by circulatory complication patients (William 445). On the contrary, when the interview commenced, Thurgood’s face glowed with delight at the mention of social segregation in America, for he is particularly fascinated by the topic.

Before assuming the position of American justice at the Supreme Court, Thurgood’s place in the history of America was secured. He had diligently served the country in lower courts and swiftly rose up the judicial ranks in the court system. What is more, his witty and considerate ruling in the Board of Education versus William’s case sparked a frenzy of media attention towards black people who held white-collar jobs. Thurgood’s professional life as America is particularly fascinating because he served at a time when the country was going through significant racial segregation issues (Long). He has been used as the epitome of “Black uprising” at a time that it was challenging to hold powerful positions in government if one was from a minority community. Thurgood defied a myriad of obstacles on his legal practice to rise up the ranks of becoming a judge at the Supreme Court. One of the reasons that aided to fuel his cause includes his personal resolve that he would stand tall; no matter what, for social change and strives to speak for the voiceless on his position in the high court. The new goal of ending social segregation was consistent with early professional achievements, such as protecting women's rights, campaigning against abortion, swift implementation of affirmative action, amongst others. All these fed into his rich experience and empowered his personal resolve in persuading the government and the masses at large to retain the idea of race as a legitimate platform for considering the needs and rights of others with respect to admission to schools (William 445). Indeed, Thurgood was an epitome of the African American struggle. The use of first-person is effective in providing first account information about Thurgood without having to be anxious about information biasing. The fact that Williams is able to relay information from his own perception commands the confidence and respect of his audience. It is because they are able to relate the information he provides against the events and incidences that took place in America’s history. The in-depth knowledge of Thurgood Marshall is well displayed by the author who has been effective in comparing his early life with his withdrawal days. Thurgood Marshall’s retirement life is rather uncharacteristic of his early youthful days as a rights activist.

After a series of anti-segregation events, incidences, and achievements, he could only withdraw to solitude as America continues to enjoy the fruits of social equality in education (Guyatt 119). William admits that looking at the old Thurgood Marshall, it was not easy to perceive the young lad or the power of his imagination. He was now an old, feeble, grey-haired man with two hundred pounds to account for his weight (William 448). On the contrary, despite his old age, he is more than interested to delve into the topic of racial segregation in education and the possible positive achievements that abolishment has realized (Moore 201). He openly admits that the affair was a risky one more so because it placed him at the wrong side of judicial authorities; thus jeopardized his career development. The reality of the life of Thurgood Marshall reflects the window of tremendous social transition that was very rampant around the 20th century. He concluded his career journey by stating that if one desires to accomplish a certain, it becomes critical to make the courts the primary target since the law is steadfast; thus is bound to be the same for all people and at all times (William 456). He meant that changing the law was tantamount to changing the lives of people. Besides, the former is more effective than using political means since the latter exposes people to violence and police arrests.

Another stylistic device that has been effective in bringing out the text’s themes include the use of descriptive information and imagery. The approach is most effective in undertaking descriptive analyses of the main character: Thurgood Marshall, as well as linking it to the main message in the literature: Civil liberation of African Americans. William has perfectly employed description to bring out the main message in the text, as well as persuade his audience to buy into his message. He does not shy away from revealing to his audience that he came to know about Thurgood during his later years. On the contrary, he openly admits that he has known about Thurgood from a personal level during the retirement years of the later. Such a choice seems to be an unexpected approach of convectional biographical authors who are always fascinated by the act of revealing as much information about an author as possible so that they can command the attention and fascination of their audiences. The confidence that William banks while convincing his audience that his work is a culmination of 8 years of thorough research of slightly more than 150 articles cultivates the attention of the target audience to want to continue reading till the end. William Juan has accomplished his underlying goal of depicting the professional life of Thurgood as extremely consequential in attaining social equality in education. While contemplating the possible themes, he was seeking to use a notable character in America’s judicial system who purposed to use his career influence to combat segregation. He also desired to adopt (as the main character of his book) a personality that was marred with traces of charisma and the burden for defending vulnerable society members.

The analysis has vividly demonstrated how Thurgood imagined an American society that invoked the law as an agent of socio-political transformation for the creation of a new and better vision for the United States. His early imaginations as a child propelled his resolve to work hard in his academic life and become an influential lawyer. He thereafter rose to the ranks of becoming a senior judge at the Supreme Court. During his early and mid-years as a lawyer, he participated in various legal processes that agitated for issues, such as women's rights, the abolition of abortion, an end to racial segregation, amongst others. There is a myriad of thematic issues that have come into play (in the text), such as the theme of social change: Civil liberty for African American residents in the United States. There was a 1950s ruling that formalized segregation of Black students from government-sponsored schools. Another thematic concern includes the need to stand up for civil freedom. Willam authored his book at a time that America was socially divided alongside a set of some civil privileges. During that time, the government did not care to ensure that all American school-going children were receiving equal education status. Willian has perfectly knitted together his personal and professional knowledge of Thurgood with the themes of social change and using legal platforms to safeguard the rights and interests of all members of the community.

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