Marshall As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 50,596 black Americans with Marshall as their last name. That represented 28% of the total of 183,922 entries.

This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Marshall.

We end with a review of early records of black military service in the United States.

After The Civil War

The 1870 census was the first survey after the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1850 and 1860, only free African Americans were recorded in the census. The many enslaved were omitted.

From 1870 onward, all black Americans were included.

0 people named Marshall were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 634 as mixed.

There was a total of 27,969 people with the name.

Marshall In The 1900 And 1940 Census

The mixed category was dropped from the census in 1900, so we just need to look at the black numbers this time.

The 1900 census recorded 10,498 people with the last name Marshall as black within a total of 54,463 that year.

By the way, the mixed category returned in the 1910 and 1920 censuses. It was dropped again in 1930, but replaced with extra categories for colored and non-white in a way that seems confusing now.

This changed again in 1940 and we can simply focus on one black category.

The 1940 census recorded 17,379 people named Marshall as black within a total of 95,123.

Historic Black Figures With The Marshall Surname

Here are some notable African Americans in history with Marshall as their last name.

Thurgood Marshall

  • Born: 1908
  • From: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Died: 1993

Thurgood Marshall’s father liked to attend court cases in his spare time and would bring his young son with him. He studied at Lincoln University and was a champion debater.

He went on to study law at Howard University and passed the Maryland bar exams in 1933. As a young lawyer in Baltimore, Marshall was also very active with the NAACP. He worked on many civil lawsuits against discrimination.

He rose to become special legal counsel of the NAACP, and won 29 of 32 cases he argued in the Supreme Court. His approach was heavily influenced by Pauli Murray’s seminal book on state segregation laws.

His landmark case was Brown v Board Of Education in 1954 which established that school segregation was unconstitutional. He was helped by other cases brought by leading black lawyers that year, including by George Hayes.

Marshall also recruited a talented young lawyer named Julius Chambers as the first intern of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Chambers went on to be a leading civil wrights lawyer through the 1970s and 80s.

President Kennedy appointed Marshall as a judge in 1961. President Lyndon Johnson appointed him as Solicitor General and then nominated him to the Supreme Court. He took his oath in 1967.

Pluria Marshall

  • Born: 1937
  • From: Houston, Texas

Pluria Marshall spent four years in Air Force after high school. He left the military in 1960 and studied photography at Texas Southern University.

Marshall was a photographer for Jet and Ebony magazines. Aside from his professional work, he was an active member of the NAACP.

He was one of the creators of Operation Breadbasket in Texas, a program first devised by Martin Luther King to boycott businesses that did not employ fair hiring practices.

Marshall worked tirelessly to promote black media professionals. He was a co-founder of the National Association of Black Journalists. He was inducted into their Hall Of Fame in 2015.

Other founders included: 

Other Black Photographers

Here are some other notable black photographers in history:

Marshall In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of for family history research. Here are examples of the Marshall surname from three different military services:

  • Buffalo soldiers
  • Black civil war sailors
  • Tuskegee airmen

Buffalo Soldiers

Five regiments for black soldiers were formed during the Civil War. They were known as the Buffalo Soldiers.

Their records are part of the national archive of military monthly returns. The information includes the year and place of birth, where they enlisted, their occupation, and their height.

One of the earliest military entries for Marshall was in August 187. Francis Marshall was a Private in the Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in August 187 at Amidok Ford, Kansas.

One of the later entries was in November 1914. Webster O. Marshall was a Private in the Ninth Cavalry.

If you are researching military ancestors, there is a free index of these records on and

You have to create an account on either website, but you do not need to pay for the Buffalo Soldiers archive.

Black Civil War Sailors

The National Parks Service has a free archive of African American sailors during the Civil War.

The information includes their age, height, rank, occupation, and where and when they enlisted. It also includes every ship that they served on.

You can search the database on the National Parks website.

Moses Marshall

One of the earliest entries for Marshall was for Moses Marshall from Lancaster County, Virginia. He enlisted in September 1861 at Hampton Roads when he was aged 23.

The record shows that Moses was assigned on March 1864 to the ship Minnesota.

His naval rank was 1st Class Boy.

“1st Class Boy” was the rank given to young men who enlisted when they were under eighteen.

Thomas Marshall

One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Baltimore in April 1864. Thomas was aged 22 and was from Fair Haven, Maryland.

He was assigned to the ship Constitution on June 1865.

His occupation before enlisting was as a Waiter. His naval rank was Landsman.

“Landsman” was the lowest rank at the time and was given to recruits with little sea experience.

Tuskegee Airmen

The Tuskegee Airmen were military personnel who served at the Tuskegee Army Airfield or related programs.

Nearly one thousand black pilots graduated from the Tuskegee Institute. They flew single-engine fighter planes or twin-engine bombers. 352 fought in combat.

Andrew Marshall graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in March 1944. He qualified as a fighter pilot. Andrew was from Wadesboro, North Carolina.