The success of Holmes v. Atlanta in the Supreme Court was, in part, attributable to the NAACP and Thurgood Marshall’s legal expertise. In addition, the case was argued during the Warren Court. Under Chief Justice Earl Warren, the court actively used judicial review to promote civil rights for all. The activist stance of Justice Warren contrasts with the tenor of US District Court Judge William Boyd Sloan who upheld “separate but equal” doctrine.
In 1965, Thurgood Marshall became the first African American Solicitor General, and in 1967, the first African American Supreme Court justice. He was instrumental in successfully arguing Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court decision that led to public school desegregation, and later helped represent the plaintiffs in Holmes v. Atlanta.