Black History Profiles
As a leader for civil rights and the nation’s first black Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall is one of the most revered figures in American history. Marshall worked through the courts, one case at a time, to help eliminate the injustices of segregation from the law of the land. He won Supreme Court victories that ruptured the color line in housing, transportation and voting rights — including Brown v. Board of Education, which ended the legal separation of black and white children in public schools. The success of the Brown case set in motion a series of hard-fought wins for the civil rights movement. Marshall was born in Baltimore, Maryland on July 2, 1908. Once he completed high school, Marshall attended Lincoln University, a historically black college in Chester County, Pennsylvania, where he met his first wife, Vivian “Buster” Burey.
On March 13, 1990, Ertha Pascal-Trouillot became the first woman in history to assume the presidency of Haiti. She served as the provisional President through 1991. In the turbulent aftermath of the fall of the Duvalier regime that saw coup d’etats, military juntas and violence in the streets of the capital, Trouillot steered Haiti through its first major test as a new democracy — free democratic elections.
Pascal-Trouillot, the 9th of 10 children, was born on August 13, 1943, in the prosperous Port-au-Prince suburb of Petionville. Her father, Thimocles Pascal, was an artist who worked ornamental iron, and her mother Louise Dumornay, was a seamstress and embroiderer. Pascal-Trouillot went on to study law at École de Droit et des Sciences Économiques des Gonaïves in Haiti’s state university. The man who would become her husband, Jean-Jacques Dessalines Ernst Trouillot, encouraged her to become a lawyer. He was president of the Bar Association.