Illustrious past recipients – all of whom epitomize individual commitment to protecting civil rights in our country – include Marian Wright Edelman (2020), Congressman John Lewis (2019), Bryan Stevenson (2017), Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1999), and Justice Thurgood Marshall himself.
2021 Thurgood Marshall Award Nomination Instructions
Applications due Thursday, October 1, 2020
The American Bar Association Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice invites nominations for its annual Thurgood Marshall Award, established to honor and give public recognition to an individual or organization who has made an exceptional contribution to the advancement of human rights in the United States. The 2021 Thurgood Marshall Award recipient will be honored during the 2021 ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto, ON.
American Bar Association members, leaders, and entities, as well as other bar associations, are invited to submit nominations for the award. Nominations are also welcome from other groups or individuals that are involved in civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights issues. Re-nominations of individuals nominated in past years are encouraged; nomination packages should be updated as necessary and re-submitted electronically.
About the Award
Established by the American Bar Association and the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice (formerly the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities) in 1992, the Thurgood Marshall Award honors U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who epitomized individual commitment, in word and action, to the cause of civil rights in this country. The award recognizes similar long-term contributions by other members of the legal profession to the advancement of civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights in the United States.
Nominees for the award must have made substantial and long-term contributions to the furtherance of civil rights, civil liberties, or human rights in this country. A "substantial" contribution shall be considered to be one evincing a level of dedication or achievement beyond that required or expected in the normal course of an individual's work. "Long-term" generally shall be considered to be at least 10 years. Nominees should be judges or duly licensed members of the bar in good standing. However, a non-lawyer who otherwise qualifies for the award may be considered for the award in exceptional circumstances. (Nominations of individuals posthumously cannot be considered.)
Nomination form: The nomination form must be completed and submitted as the cover sheet of the nomination package;
Photo: Please submit a current photo of the nominee;
Resume: The nomination package must include a resume or curriculum vitae, which describes the following
- The nominee’s professional background;
- The nominee’s educational background;
- The nominee’s principal areas of practice, including the number of years of practice;
- The nominee’s professional achievements.
Biography: The nomination package must include a narrative biography describing the nominee’s substantial and long-term contributions to the advancement of civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights in the United States; and
Letters of Support: Please submit no more than five letters of support from individuals or organizations that speak to the following (additional letters will not be considered):
- Describe how the nominee has achieved professional excellence in his or her field;
- Describe how the nominee has distinguished himself or herself in the fields of civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights in the United States;
- Describe the nominee’s public service, civic activities, and bar association activities; and
- Describe how the nominee has inspired, encouraged, or mentored others in pursuing legal careers in civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights.
The nomination form and required accompanying materials must be sent electronically or submitted online by October 1, 2020 via this survey. Questions on the application process can be directed to: CRSJ@americanbar.org.