Go see “Thurgood,” a play depicting the life of Thurgood Marshall, who was lead attorney in the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) school desegregation case and the first African American Supreme Court Justice (1967).

The lead role is currently being played by noted Hollywood actor, Laurence Fishburne, with whom New York Times columnist, Zachary Pincus-Roth recently sat down for an interview (click here to read original interview). Here is an excerpt of that interview:

At a lunch interview in a Los Angeles cafe, Mr. Fishburne — who arrived on his BMW GS1100 motorcycle wearing jeans and a tight, black long-sleeve shirt adorned in tattoo art — recalled a high school field trip to Broadway to see James Earl Jones in a solo play about the black actor, singer and activist Paul Robeson.

“He was never mentioned in any classroom I had been in, and I learned a great deal,” he said. “I was inspired.”

Before reading George Stevens Jr.’s script for “Thurgood (click here to read a quick synopsis of this interesting life.),” he knew little about Marshall’s early career as the civil rights lawyer who argued Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 case that ended official segregation in public schools. “My only real knowledge of him was that he was the first black man appointed to the United States Supreme Court,” Mr. Fishburne said. “I thought that this would be an opportunity for me to educate people.”

“….Fittingly, Mr. Fishburne is taking over a role originated by Mr. [James Earl] Jones, at the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut in 2006. It’s a familiar path for him: in “Fences,” he played Troy Maxson, the role for which Mr. Jones won a Tony Award (in “Fences”, a play published in 1985 by August Wilson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright).

Mr. Jones decided not to continue with “Thurgood” and is now on Broadway in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Through a publicist, he declined comment, except to say that he admires Mr. Fishburne’s talents and wishes the production good luck. “Thurgood” is presented as a lecture at Howard University, where Marshall attended law school. Marshall, 83 years old and retired, takes the audience on a journey through his career, with a focus on his fight for integration.

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