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The Honorable Thurgood Marshall: A Tribute for Black History Month

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February is Black History Month, and people across the nation are coming together and delving deep into the rich history of African Americans.

It is a month of brimming pride in the advancements and strides forward that we as a people have made. It is a month of somber reflection as we remember the dark times and tribulations that we have left behind. It is a month of renewal in the drive and hope to do even more to better, not only ourselves but the world around us. It is a time in which we give special recognition to those that came before us that paved the way for our future and gave us the inspiration to achieve things we once thought impossible.

Take, for instance, Thurgood Marshall. Many know Thurgood Marshall as the attorney that helped bring an end to segregation in public schools through Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, and the first African American to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Through his actions he helped propel the Civil Rights movement and integration forward, giving it strength to bring us to the world we are now. For the typical person, those facts are all they know about him, being the only information they’ve learned through repeated classes or quick tidbits of Black history. And for the average person that is enough.

For many African American attorneys though, Thurgood Marshall is the greatest inspiration to practice law. More than his achievements, it is what he stood for: “You do what you think is right and let the law catch up” that inspired so many people. He stood for what he believed in and worked to promote a change in the world for the better.

It wasn’t prestige, money or fame that made him take various cases, but a desire to do what he believed was right no matter what stood in his way or the odds against him. He is a symbol of what you can accomplish if you stick to your beliefs and what you can stand for if you really want to. He is a figure that many attorneys look up to because he represents what the law can be, a means to guide humanity to a better tomorrow.

And that is the beauty of Black History Month. It’s not just the remembrance of those before us, remembering facts and their accomplishments. It’s not just making the past known to everyone around the country and globe. It’s not just trying to make African Americans feel that our history and past is just as important as everyone else’s.

It’s a means to inspire everyone to stand and try to do something they thought impossible. It’s a means to give hope to those around us, that no matter who you are or where you’re from you can affect the world around you. It’s a means to show that the world is not a stagnant thing, but an ever-changing tapestry that requires only the actions and wills of those brave enough to try to make an impact.

Guest blog post authored by DeMarcus Williams. DeMarcus Williams serves on the legal support staff of Cory Watson Attorneys and begins law school in the fall of 2016. A Birmingham, Alabama native and lifelong resident of the city, he graduated with honors from Ramsay High School in 2011. He graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Science and Technology Honors College of the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2015.  DeMarcus has been accepted to law school at Duke University, The University of Alabama, Wake Forest University Cumberland School of Law and Penn State.

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