The Thurgood Marshall Alliance

Strengthening Schools and Communities through Diversity

The Thurgood Marshall Alliance (TMA) was founded in 2015 by Dr. Karl Alexander of Johns Hopkins University, to assist Baltimore schools that are committed to economic and racial diversity.  Children attending Alliance schools will experience authentic integration that breaks through traditional barriers and helps children of all backgrounds thrive in their academic and social development.  Toward those ends, TMA will support its member schools with outreach and communications support to meet enrollment targets, technical support for implementing best practices in educational programming, and supplemental resources for family wraparound services (e.g., health screening) and extended time learning opportunities.  TMA schools will be welcoming places with strong academic programming; they will provide the kind of educational experience all of Baltimore’s children deserve.

TMA is named in honor of Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.  A graduate of Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore City, Marshall attended the Howard University Law School, having been discouraged from applying to the then-segregated University of Maryland Law School.  As head of counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Team, Marshall argued the 1954 Brown desegregation case before the Supreme Court. In declaring the Southern states’ dual school system to be unconstitutional, the Court held that: “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

TMA subscribes to that same principle: poor and minority children who are segregated in high-poverty schools apart from others are disadvantaged educationally, and in their later life prospects.  So too are the non-poor and non-minority children who are separated from them.  Through their experience of diversity, children who attend TMA schools will be better prepared for tomorrow’s world.

TMA will partner with neighborhood zoned schools that share its commitment to diversity and pledge to follow a set of core principles and practices, including;

  • Setting an enrollment goal that mirrors the family income and racial/ethnic makeup of the neighborhoods in the school’s attendance zone;
  • Prioritizing inclusive educational programming, so that the school’s diversity infuses each child’s daily experiences;
  • Providing holistic student supports, including health and mental health services and both afterschool and summer learning opportunities;
  • Committing to serve all children, including those with special needs and those for whom English is a second language.

TMA is in the process of forging the many partnerships required to effectively provide its services.  It will launch in the 2018-2019 school year with no more than three school affiliates. Beginning in 2019-2020, it will partner with interested schools throughout Baltimore City.

For more background, please see Concept Statement.

The TMA Leadership Council is described in CharterLeadershipAdvisoryCouncil.

A summary of TMA’s ongoing Listening tour is provided in Listening Tour Overview.

An executive summary of the results of the Listening Tour is available in Listening Tour Report Executive Summary.  To receive a PDF copy of the full Listening Tour Report, please send email to:  and please provide your email address for the PDF copy.

A summary of the project as of Summer 2018 is TMA in Contexts-Spring2018.

Some mentions in the media are listed here Media Mentions.