Nation Remembers Wife of Late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Cecilia ‘Cissy’ Suyat Marshall, Dies at 94
The nation is remembering the wife of the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, 94-year-old Cecilia “Cissy” Suyat Marshall, who died on Nov. 22.
Cecilia Suyat worked alongside her husband, civil rights leader Thurgood Marshall, at the NAACP. He became the high court’s first Black justice in 1967, followed by a career as a civil rights lawyer.
He retired in 1991, and died in 1993 at the age of 84.
Born in Hawaii on July 20, 1928, Suyat later moved to New York City and took night classes at Columbia University to become a stenographer, the The Associated Press reported.
She was then sent to work at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People by an employment office.
“The clerk, she saw my dark skin, and she sent me to the national office of the NAACP,” Suyat stated in an interview with The Washington Post.
“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 told The Washington Post that growing up in the Hawaiian islands, they never had the racial problems that she experienced once lived elsewhere in the U.S.
“Working with the NAACP opened my eyes,” she added in her interview. And it was at the NAACP that she met her husband of almost two decades. Suyat worked on a variety of cases with the NAACP and also helped Marshall prepare for arguments in the Brown v. Board of education case in 1952 and 1953, according to The AP.
Justice Elena Kagan and Chief Justice John Roberts praised Suyat to the Associated Press calling her “a marvelous woman” who will be remembered as a “vibrant and engaged member of the Court family.”
Suyat leaves behind two sons, Thurgood Jr. and John, The Associated Press reports.
The Supreme Court stated that funeral arrangements were pending.