Review of The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership, and Legacy

The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership, and Legacy
by Kekla Magoon; illus. by Laura Freeman
Primary, Intermediate    Quill Tree/HarperCollins    40 pp.    g
1/21    978-0-06-291251-0    $17.99

“Thurgood would become the first to do a lot of things that a Black person had never done before.” When he attended Lincoln University, a Black college, Thurgood Marshall’s debate team became the first to participate in an interracial debate. As a young lawyer in Baltimore, he won a court case admitting a Black student to the University of Maryland, the first time a court had ordered the desegregation of a school. And he won the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case before the Supreme Court in 1954 and became a Supreme Court justice himself in 1967. Magoon’s title comes from Marshall himself: “In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” The crystal-clear and accessible text, focusing on essential cases in the career of “Mr. Civil Rights,” does justice to the Justice. Freeman’s stately digital illustrations employ effective graphic elements: newspaper headlines, “whites only” signs, bits of the Constitution, the scales of justice. The superb back matter includes a timeline, a list of major court cases, a bibliography, and an excellent selection of books for further reading.

From the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Dean Schneider

Dean Schneider teaches eighth grade English at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee.

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