Background on NAACP Thurgood Marshall & the FBI Military Desegregation  
Chambers v. Florida(1940) Smith v. Allwright(1943) Shelley v. Kraemer(1947) Sipuel v. Univ. of Oklahoma(1948) Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954)

Thurgood Marshall & the FBI

    During World War II, Communism reached its peak in America at over 80,000 members. Although these numbers had fallen to about 30,000 by the 1950s, the suspicion about disloyalty had grown. The FBI had paid informers inside the NAACP and inside every other program working for change in the United States at the time, and from 1956 to 1959, Thurgood Marshall was one of them.

    Unlike many other informants, Marshall did not work with the FBI for any personal benefit. In fact, he had always been an outspoken critic of the FBI and of its leader at the time, J. Edgar Hoover. But he was also very anti-Communist. In the 1930s and 1940s there had been a large disagreement between the Communists and the NAACP about who would represent African-Americans on the civil rights battle scene, and there was concern that the Communist Party would try to take over the NAACP. Even as he felt that assisting the FBI “undermined his goals,”1 he evidently felt that the safety of the NAACP was more important.

1 Author not available, Justice Marshall’s Most Memorable Case Reviewed., All Things Considered (NPR) 01-25-1993