Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023|
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Cecilia “Cissy” Suyat Marshall, the wife of the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall who worked alongside the civil rights champion at the NAACP, died Tuesday at the age of 94, the Supreme Court announced.
Marshall’s husband became the high court’s first Black justice in 1967 following a career as a civil rights lawyer in which he argued the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case that outlawed segregation in public schools. He retired from the high court in 1991 and died in 1993 at the age of 84.
Cecilia Suyat was born in Hawaii on July 20, 1928. She later moved to New York City and took night classes at Columbia University to become a stenographer. An employment office sent her in 1948 to work at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
“The clerk, she saw my dark skin, and she sent me to the national office of the NAACP,” she said in a 2016 interview. “That is the only reason I can think of that she sent me to the NAACP for my first job. And to this day, I thank her, because had it not been for her, I wouldn’t have known anything about a race problem.”
Suyat, who was of Filipino descent, said that “having been born in the Hawaiian islands we never had that racial problems, and so working with the NAACP opened my eyes.”
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