One of the city’s oldest public high schools, once heavily Jewish, for decades home to a nearly all-Black student body, it boasts fiercely proud alumni and a reputation for powerhouse athletics.
It’s named for the fourth chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, widely regarded as the most influential leader of the nation’s highest court, honored with his face on postage stamps and his name on law schools in Chicago and elsewhere.
Marshall also was a slaveholder his entire adult life, with at least 200 Black slaves on his Virginia plantations.
That part of Marshall’s history didn’t keep an all-white Chicago Board of Education from naming the school on West Adams Street in East Garfield Park for him when it opened 125 years ago.
“That’s our heritage,” says Anyiah Jackson-Williams, Marshall’s valedictorian from the class of 2020. “I’m African American. It really was a shocker to me. He’s one of the people that was a slave owner.”