Thurgood Marshall had always regretted his younger son John hadn't finished college. But one day in 1988, the nation's first black Supreme Court justice found himself sitting with his wife, Cecilia, in their Falls Church, Va., home, peering imperiously at his son as John, then 29, handed him an envelope. It was an invitation to his graduation from Georgetown University. "My dad screamed," says Marshall, who had secretly attended night school. "I'd never heard a scream like that."
Justice Marshall, who died in 1993, might have topped that joyous outburst last month when John, 41, appointed by President Clinton, was sworn in as the first African-American director of the U.S. Marshals Service, the nation's oldest federal law-enforcement agency. Marshall dropped out of Georgetown in 1980 to become a Virginia state trooper and raise a family (he and wife Jean, 37, have two grown daughters, Melonie and Cecilia); he spent much of the next 14 years working in the field and was known for his tenacity. "He's like a junkyard dog," says an old colleague, senior trooper Dave Powell. In 1994, Marshall was named a U.S. Marshal, nicknamed M Squared, for Marshal Marshall. Director Marshall plans to live up to his father's example. After John's police academy graduation, the justice gave him a pocket-size version of the Constitution and some judicious instructions. "Read this cover-to-cover," he said. "Don't violate it and you'll do fine."
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