The Thurgood Marshall Award was established in 1992 to further the goals of achieving the American ideals of justice, freedom, and equality. Read on to find out who the Section has honored in past years.
The Section is thrilled to announce that it will honor legendary civil rights leader Clarence B. Jones with the 2021 Thurgood Marshall Award in a virtual celebration during the ABA Annual Meeting. Serving as advisor and lawyer to Dr. Martin Luther Kind, Jr., Mr. Jones played a pivotal role in many events in the Civil Rights Era, including assisting in the drafting of Dr. King’s momentous "I have a Dream" address; acting as part of the successful defense team for the SCLC in New York Times v. Sullivan; serving as part of Dr. King’s inner circle of advisers, called the “research committee”; and contributing with Vincent Harding and Andrew Young to Dr. King’s “Beyond Vietnam” address at New York’s Riverside Church on 4 April 1967. After Dr. King’s death, Mr. Jones served as one of the negotiators during the 1971 prison riot at Attica, and was editor and part owner of the New York Amsterdam News from 1971 to 1974.About - the 2021 Recipient
Generous donors supporting the Thurgood Marshall Award Celebration help fund the innovative projects and programs implemented by the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice to ensure that protection of civil rights remains a focus of legal and policy decisions. All sponsors and individual donors will receive recognition during the 2021 Virtual Thurgood Marshall Award Program.Make Your Gift - Donate Today
On July 31, the Section honored longtime activist Marian Wright Edelman, one of our nation's foremost civil rights champions and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Founder and President Emerita of the Children's Defense Fund, the country's strongest voice for children and families, Mrs. Edelman was the first African-American woman to be admitted to the Mississippi Bar while courageously directing the NAACP LDF's Jackson, Mississippi office at the height of the battle for civil rights in the deep South, and subsequently serving as Counsel to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Poor People's Campaign.About - the 2020 Recipient
During the 2019 ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Congressman John Lewis received the Section's annual Thurgood Marshall Award. The first non-lawyer to receive the award, which honors those who contribute to the advancement of civil rights, civil liberties and human rights, the U.S. representative from Georgia’s 5th congressional district said he had been arrested 40 times during the 1960s, plus another five times as a member of Congress.About - the Recipient