On Wednesday, February 23, 2011, Assistant Professor Tonya M. Evans will deliver the capstone lecture in the Legal Perspectives in African-American History Lecture Series. The series is sponsored by the Black Law Students Association of Widener University School of Law – Harrisburg (BLSA-Harrisburg). Her presentation is titled Thurgood Marshall: The Justice, the Legacy. Marshall was a brilliant and accomplished lawyer who graduated first in his class from Howard University School of Law. He was also a civil rights advocate and the first African-American member of the Supreme Court of the United States (1967–91).
As an attorney, he successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), which declared unconstitutional racial segregation in American public schools and overturned the “separate but equal” law of the land that had persisted since the decision in Plessey v. Ferguson.
In her remarks, Professor Evans seeks to expound on and extend the remarks delivered earlier this month by Professor Starla Williams. Professor Williams provided extensive coverage of the landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education, spearheaded by Marshall. Professor Williams focused on the profound and pervasive impact of Brown on segregation and education in America.
Professor Evans, a graduate of Howard University School of Law and former Editor-in-Chief of that school’s Law Journal, focuses more directly on the life and legacy of Justice Marshall. She intends to explore not only the esteemed biographical history of Justice Marshall but also his significant impact and tireless efforts in remedying racial disparity and injustice within the legal system. Professor Evans will highlight lesser known but still impactful cases like Murray v. Pearson and Chambers v. Florida, which prepared the essential groundwork leading up to Brown.
Justice Marshall’s legacy continues to positively affect the lives of students, lawyers and Americans even to this day. His contribution to the legal landscape of the United States forever changed its foundation. Additionally, Marshall was also an integral participant in drafting the first constitutions of African nations Ghana and what is now known as Tanzania. His legacy and contribution crossed borders and impacted lives across the world.