WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 -- A published report claimed Monday the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall allegedly supplied the FBI with inside information about fellow civil rights activists when Marshall was a lawyer in the 1950s. USA Today said it gleaned the information from 1,300 pages of FBI files on Marshall obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
As an NAACP lawyer, Marshall persuaded the Supreme Court to strike down school segregation in Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954. After serving on the federal bench and as U.S. solicitor general, he became the first black justice on the Supreme Court after President Johnson nominated him in 1967. One of the country's most respected jurists, Marshall retired from the court in 1991 and died after a long illness in 1993. In its Monday edition, USA Today said the stormy public relationship between the NAACP's Marshall and J. Edgar Hoover's FBI in the late 1950s was often belied by private cooperation. However, all the allegations reported by the newspaper appear to be based on second-hand accounts by FBI officials, not on anything in Marshall's handwriting. The newspaper quoted one memo it said came from an FBI official which contended Marshall 'conferred with the bureau on several occasions in connection with his efforts to combat communist attempts to infiltrate the NAACP.' 'According to (another) 1958 memo, he gave the bureau advance warning that a resolution critical of the Justice Department would be voted on an upcoming NAACP convention,' the newspaper said. A 1958 FBI memo 'indicates that Marshall passed on to the bureau information about a dissident NAACP leader in North Carolina and about other civil rights leaders who were advocating violence there,' the newspaper said.