Thurgood Marshall: Second-ever Special Counsel to the NAACP. All-time record holder for most civil rights cases argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, where he boasted an impressive record of 29-3. The guy who successfully extended voting rights, ended racially restrictive housing covenants, desegregated law schools and grad schools. Oh, and later public schools in general in a little case called Brown v. Board of Education. A titanic figure in public interest law and impact litigation. The first African-American Supreme Court Justice, a position he used to tireless defend individual’s constitutional rights from the bench.
I’m a big fan of sports movies from the 70’s and 80’s. Almost inevitably, these movies contain a sports training montage, where you see clips of the main character training and improving under the tutelage of his grizzled mentor. This is most prominently featured in the Rocky movies (truly American classics…except number 5, which is terrible). During the montage (which usually feature some inspirational music, a la “Eye of the Tiger”), the hero starts out terrible, gets frustrated by his failures, gradually improves, and then masters his craft.