YOUNG THURGOOD by Larry S. Gibson was recently released by Prometheus Books! The only biography of Thurgood Marshall to be endorsed by Marshall's family, YOUNG THURGOOD chronicles the formative years of the man who would become the most important American lawyer of the 20th century.
Thurgood Marshall was appointed to the US Supreme Court in 1967 and served as an Associate Justice for 24 years. As a solicitor general of the United States and a counsel for the NAACP, he won 42 of 50 cases before the US Supreme Court. He was the chief counsel for the NAACP during Brown vs. Board of Education, and his landmark win transformed the American legal system and the country.
But before that, Marshall was just a kid growing up in Baltimore, Maryland. He argued on the debate team and found mentors among his high school teachers, then he went to law school, struggled to establish a law practice in the midst of the Great Depression, and held his first civil rights cases.
In YOUNG THURGOOD, Gibson covers these moments and more, weaving all the pieces of Marshall's background into a fascinating tale of how Marshall became the man who would challenge racial segregation and change American law.
Six hundred people attended Gibson's book launch in December at the Pratt Library in Baltimore, Maryland. Among them were Congressman Elijah Cummings, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, all of whom presented introductory comments before Gibson spoke. Photos of the speakers and the audience are below.
|From left to right, Rawlings-Blake, Cummings, and O'Malley|
|Gibson speaking before a packed audience|
The Baltimore Sun featured YOUNG THURGOOD in a recent article, praising Gibson's “camera-like focus that registers both foreground and background.” Yet, in the article, journalist Mary Carole McCauley not only lauds the attention to detail present in Gibson's writing, she also highlights how this characteristic informs his attitude toward history, justice, activism—and his hope for the impact his biography of Marshall can make on its readers: “[Gibson] places immense importance on factual accuracy. For Gibson, a fact is as rough-edged and weighty as a brick. Stack a bunch of them together, and you build something that will stand for all time.”
Thurgood Marshall Jr. also raved about the level of details Gibson found regarding his father. When The Baltimore Sun called Marshall, he reportedly gushed, "Gosh, this book is just amazing....On every page are stories that are filled with detail that we didn't know anything about."
You can read the full Baltimore Sun article here. YOUNG THURGOOD has also been featured in articles in The Philadelphia Tribune (here), AFRO American (here), and The Daily Record (here), among others.
Check out a sampling of the wonderful reviews YOUNG THURGOOD has received below:
“Deftly evokes the atmosphere in which Marshall developed his talents and effectively sketches the many people and events that influenced him. A well-researched and engaging biography and a fine addition to Marshall scholarship.” --Kirkus
“The writing is unadorned and accessible...Gibson succeeds in making Marhsall's story immediate and vital.” --Publishers Weekly
“Gibson highlights Marshall’s youthful influences and the racial injustices that spurred him to be a passionate advocate for equality as he took on the lawsuits and campaigns that eventually led to the Brown decision. Photographs enhance this insightful portrait of a complex man.” --Booklist
“This book is as much a history of the black experience in early 20th-century Baltimore as it is a biography of Thurgood Marshall. Readers who are interested in Marshall’s early life will enjoy this book.” --Library Journal
“Gibson's vigorous account makes Marshall all the more human.” --Baltimore Magazine
“An important work that reveals the early years of one of America's greatest civil rights heroes.” --Book of the Month Club
"Larry Gibson has produced the most accurate book ever published about my husband." --Cecilia Marshall, wife of Thurgood Marshall
“A triumph of discovery and restraint, YOUNG THURGOOD transports readers into a vivid, indomitable black culture that equipped this legal giant to remake our world.” --Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize winning author of THE CLINTON TAPES
“I commend Professor Gibson's biography of Thurgood Marshall to every American who wishes to better understand our nation's ongoing struggle for universal civil rights.” --Elijah E. Cummings, Member of Congress
"Larry Gibson's painstaking research has produced a powerful and persuasive account of Thurgood Marshall's formative years and valuable new insight into the early years of the NAACP." --Benjamin Jealous, President of the NAACP
Prometheus Books, December 2012