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Before Thurgood Marshall became the first black Supreme Court justice, he was a fearless lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

The African-American trailblazer founded the organization in 1940 and his time fighting racism and corruption is thrillingly brought to the big screen in Marshall.

Marshall co-star and Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown portrays “Joseph Spell,” a black man accused of raping and murdering a white woman; he enlists the support of a young Thurgood Marshall (portrayed by actor Chadwick Boseman) to defend him. Entertainment Studios’ Jon Kelley caught up with Brown on how historically accurate the film is and the story’s relevance in 2017.

“[The film] illuminates the history of racism in this country,” Brown says. “And just how dangerous it was for a black man to even look at a white woman let alone be intimate with her – to the point where this man was fearful for his life whether he admitted to the crime or admitted to his innocence.”

Brown, who recently earned an Emmy for his work in NBC’s This Is Us, has a message for those who believe that people need to merely ‘pull themselves up by your own bootstraps’ philosophy.

“I think that things have been greatly improved for me in my life because of the sacrifice that people have made before me,” Brown say. “Recognizing that we all have different starting places in life – everybody needs help. And anyone who thinks they get to where they are in life without the assistance of anyone is deluding themselves. And Sterling K. Brown says so.”

Marshall hits theaters Friday, October 13.

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