History vs Hollywood discredits major aspects of the film http://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/marshall/
Does the movie correctly portray attorney Sam Friedman?
No, at least not according to Sam's nephew, Roger Friedman, a movie critic of over 25 years. "Almost not a word of my great uncle's depiction in the movie is accurate," writes Roger Friedman. He says that his uncle's depiction as being a novice trial lawyer who was insecure without Thurgood Marshall present is completely false. It was Sam Friedman who was the lead and argued the case while Marshall, who was sent as a consultant, took notes. This is well documented and also evidenced by the fact that Marshall is barely mentioned in press coverage of the trial.
Roger calls Sam's portrayal of being a person of no backbone who feared for his life laughable. By that point, Sam had already been practicing law for 14 years, longer than Marshall, and had a stellar reputation as a trial lawyer. It would have not been uncommon for him to take such a case, as he was a champion against such injustices throughout his career. Sam was the architect of the case, not Marshall.