MacArthur Fellows Program

Joseph E. Marshall Jr.

Educator and Violence-Prevention Specialist | Class of 1994

Educator and Violence-Prevention Specialist
San Francisco, California
47 at time of award
Published July 1, 1994

About Joseph's Work

Joseph Marshall, an educator, lecturer, and community organizer, strives to eliminate or reduce physical and psychic violence in the lives of young people by promoting academic achievement and noninvolvement with drugs.

In 1987, Marshall co-founded the Omega Boys Club (OBC) of San Francisco.  The OBC provides at-risk, inner-city youth a support system that functions as a surrogate family by encouraging and supporting them in academic pursuits, and helping send many young men and women to college.  Another aspect of OBC is Street Soldiers, the Club’s violence-prevention effort that reaches out to the community at large.  This endeavor includes a radio talk show hosted by Marshall and violence-prevention training for OBC members.  The Street Soldiers program has been replicated in Los Angeles and Detroit.


Marshall is executive director of the Omega Boys Club.  On leave from the San Francisco Unified School District, where he was a teacher and administrator for twenty-five years, he gives motivational lectures throughout the country and serves on the advisory board of the Community Violence Prevention Program at the Harvard University School of Public Health.

Marshall received a B.A. (1968) from the University of San Francisco, an M.A. (1974) from San Francisco State University; and a Ph.D. (1997) from the Wright Institute, Berkeley, California.

Recent News

In 2006, Joseph Marshall founded the Alive & Free Movement, which is dedicated to eliminating violence in the lives of young people worldwide. The movement is headquartered in San Francisco, CA, and active in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Haiti, and Thailand. Dr. Marshall’s work has helped shape best practices of the U.S. Surgeon General, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. He was named an Ashoka Fellow in 2004 and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Use Your Life Award from Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network (2001), Congressional Freedom Works Award (1997), Leadership Award from the Children’s Defense Fund (1994), and Essence Award honoring outstanding contributions by African American Men from Essence magazine (1994).

Updated July 2015

Select News Coverage of Joseph E. Marshall Jr.
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