Derek Charles Livingston - An Hour with Thurgood Marshall (02/09/2023 APEX)

Derek Charles Livingston

February 9, 2023
The Great Hall


Derek Livingston, the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s interim artistic director, reenacted an hour-long adaptation of the play "Thurgood" for the APEX hour on February 9. This was the first type of APEX event like this.

Ryan Paul, the APEX director and SUU history professor, introduced Livingston. Paul gave the audience the warning that there would be "salty language" used.

February is Black History Month. The play "Thurgood" honored a dominant figure in black history and civil rights, Thurgood Marshall.

Thurgood Marshall was an American civil rights lawyer and jurist who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1967 until 1991. He was the Supreme Court's first African-American justice.

Livingston embodied Thurgood Marshall and all the different characters in his life. Charles Houston was a prominent African-American lawyer, Dean of Howard University Law School, NAACP first special counsel, and a friend of Thurgood. Livingston as Charles Houston declared, "law is a weapon if you know how to use it."

The play was somber and serious, as it told Thurgood Marshall’s life story but there were comedic moments thrown in to keep the audience on their toes. Livingston as Charles Houston joked that “the difference between doctors and lawyers is that a doctor can bury his mistakes.”

The play "Thurgood" took very serious topics and issues and tried to lighten the mood by placing witty lines amongst the heavier content. In one of these witty lines, Livingston as Thurgood said, "we negroes have a sixth sense about which whites are for or against us."

Thurgood Marshall’s dad ingrained in his son that "there is no difference between white and black snakes – they both bite." Thurgood Marshall lived by that and helped lead the United Stated to becoming an integrated and equal country.

Leaving the audience with some words of wisdom, Livingston as Thurgood Marshall declared that "one person can make a difference."



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