Thurgood Marshall is perhaps best known as the first African-American justice on the Supreme Court, where he served from 1967 to 1991. But he had a long history of working for justice. As an attorney for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), he waged legal battles against racial discrimination which helped reshape American society.

Now, a new collection of letters from that period offers a new portrait of Marshall as an important force in the civil rights movement.

Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, and Martin Luther King Jr.'s leadership of the black boycott of the city’s public transportation system are widely acknowledged as pivotal events in the civil rights struggle. But almost 20 years before that, a young attorney with the NAACP laid the groundwork for the movement’s success.
1955年,阿拉巴马州蒙哥马利郡一辆实施种族隔离的公共汽车上,罗沙·帕克斯拒绝让座位给白人之后,马丁·路德·金领导黑人对该市的公交系统进行了抵制。这些都被认为是民权斗争的关键事件。但是,在这之前大约20年,“全美有色人种促进协会”的一名年轻律师已经为这个运动的成功打下了基础。

"Martin Luther King Jr. emerges as the most important civil rights leader in the latter half of the 20th century exactly because of Thurgood Marshall’s work in the 20 years that led up to 1957," says Michael Long, author of "Marshalling Justice: The Early Civil Rights Letters of Thurgood Marshall." "It’s unfair to believe that King had just emerged from nowhere. He emerged out of a culture and society that had already begun to break down racial discrimination. In fact, Rosa Parks was a member of the NAACP."
迈克尔·隆是《引导正义:瑟古德·马歇尔早期民权书信》一书的作者。他说:“马丁·路德·金之所以在20世纪后半叶能够作为最重要的民权运动领袖脱颖而出,就是因为马歇尔在1957年之前20年里的工作。”迈克尔·隆说:“蒙哥马利郡的危机之后,马歇尔立即代表全美有色人种促进协会表示声援。他还鼓励包括马丁·路德·金在内的蒙哥马利郡民权领袖反击公共汽车上的种族隔离。一些非洲裔美国人领袖最初抱怨说,他们在公共汽车上没有受到礼貌的待遇。但是,马歇尔说:这还不够,我们需要反击公共汽车上的种族隔离。”

The letters Marshall wrote between 1936 and 1957 reveal the depth and breadth of his civil rights work.
迈克尔·隆说,马歇尔在1936年到1957年之间所写的信件反映了他从事民权工作的深度和广度。

"The basic idea behind the letters is this, let’s get rid of segregation," says Long. "He played a role of African-American male in the south at the time. He ate in segregated restaurants. He drove in segregated taxis. He played the role of the segregated black man in order to further the cause. He never wanted to draw attention to himself as he put it. He wanted to fight for the cause."
“这些信件背后的基本想法是:让我们结束种族隔离。”

Marshall used everything from points of law to righteous indignation to make his case. In a letter to the New Mexico Department of Education about segregated schools in the city of Alamogordo, he wrote: "It seems that the one school for Negroes in Alamogordo is taught by one teacher who teaches grades from the first grade through the junior high school. It’s almost unbelievable that in this modern system of education one teacher can be expected to be proficient in teaching all grades from the first grade to the junior high school at the same time and in the same small building."
马歇尔用各种办法阐明自己的观点。他在给新墨西哥州教育部的一封信中谈到阿拉莫戈多市的种族隔离学校。他写道:“阿拉莫戈多市的黑人似乎只有一个老师,负责从小学一年级到初中所有年级的教学。在当代教育体系中,一个老师要如此全才,在同一时间、同一座教学楼,教授从小学一年级到初中所有年级的学生,这简直无法相像。”

"Marshall was a great letter writer," says Long. "He would sit down at the typewriter and just pound out a letter. He also wrote them on a yellow legal pad, in blue ink. He wrote letters to all the major personalities of his day. He wrote to presidents, he wrote to politicians."
迈克尔·隆说:“马歇尔是一个了不起的书信作家。他坐在打字机旁,很快就能敲打出一封信,有时用蓝墨水在黄色拍纸簿上写。他致函给所有的社会名人,包括总统和政界人士。”

He also wrote to generals. In 1940, as war raged in Europe, he complained about segregated wards in military veterans' hospitals to the adminstrator of Veteran Affairs, Gen. Frank Hines, highlighting the relationship between democracy and racial justice.
他还写信给军队的将军们。1940年,欧洲战争爆发时,他写信向退伍军人事务部负责人弗兰克·海恩斯,批评退伍军人医院的病房实行种族隔离,并且强调了民主和种族正义之间的关系。

"It is to be regretted that this type of discrimination should exist in any project using federal funds exclusively," he wrote. "With the present unsettled conditions throughout Europe, the United States is itself on trial as the last proving ground for democracy."
他写道:“令人痛惜的是,这类歧视竟然会在完全使用联邦资金的项目中存在。”他还写道:“在目前欧洲不稳定的形势下,美国自身作为最后一个民主阵地也在接受考验。”

Marshall also wrote to everyday African-Americans struggling against racial discrimination, especially in the South.
马歇尔还给同种族歧视做斗争的普通非洲裔美国人、特别是南方非洲裔美国人写信。

"Some of the letters ended up on his desk were very illiterate. They were full of misspelling and typos, very difficult to read some of these letters, it's just difficult to figure out what they're saying," says Long. "Marshall would sit at his desk and he would read those letters very carefully and he would craft a beautiful response to them and mail a letter back. In some of the letters that he wrote, we can see a very compassionate, warm, sensitive side of Marshall that we don’t normally see."
迈克尔·隆说:“马歇尔的桌子上堆放着一些文笔不通的信,里面满是拼写错误,很难读懂上面写了什么,也很难弄懂写信者的意图是什么。但是,马歇尔会坐在办公桌前,仔细地阅读这些信件,然后精心措辞给他们回信。从他所写的一些信中,我们可以看到他不通常为人们察觉的具有同情心、热情和敏感的一面。”

Long believes it is important for younger generations to read these letters, and learn about the man whose work still impacts lives.
迈克尔·隆认为,年轻一代阅读这些书信、了解他的工作至今仍在影响人们生活的这个人非常重要。

"I think we can see how he shaped history today, if we look at the White House and we see who is there. I think we can trace the presence of President Obama to Marshall’s work. I think Obama is a very rich legacy of the civil rights work of Thurgood Marshall. Marshall worked for that not only here in the United States, but also worldwide. He assisted some countries in crafting their constitutions, Kenya for example. Marshall played a leading role in helping people think about liberty, freedom and equal justice under law."
他说:“我认为,我们可以看到他是如何塑造今天的历史的。我们看看今天谁在白宫里面,奥巴马总统入主白宫,跟马歇尔的工作不无关系。我认为,奥巴马总统本身就是马歇尔民权工作留下的宝贵财富。马歇尔不仅在美国、而且在全世界都从事民权工作。他帮助一些国家、例如肯尼亚起草宪法。他还在帮助人们思考自主、自由以及法律面前人人平等方面发挥了先锋作用。”

And because liberty, freedom and equality are basic rights, "Marshalling Justice" author Michael Long hopes Thurgood Marshall’s words will continue to inspire people everywhere in their battles for justice.
由于自主、自由和平等是人们的基本权利,因此,《引导正义:瑟古德·马歇尔早期民权书信》一书的作者迈克尔·隆说,他希望马歇尔书信会继续鼓舞在各个地方为正义而战的人们。