Born in Canton, Ohio on October 6th, 1934, Marshall (originally Moishe) was raised in Detroit, Michigan. As a young man he was no stranger to violence, having witnessed riots in Detroit and was himself beaten by police as a teen.
Marshall completed his undergraduate education at the University of Michigan. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Wisconsin in 1961, where he met his friend and mentor, psychologist Carl Rogers. Marshall launched his professional career in St. Louis where he established a successful clinical practice. Marshall’s desire to put people over profits, as well as his curiosity and desire to learn more about the causes of violence that had defined his early experiences living in inner city Detroit, soon inspired him to leave private practice.
He took a job as a cab driver and used this time to explore new and meaningful ways he might apply his professional training to reduce various forms of violence and disseminate peacemaking skills. He worked closely with civil rights activists in the 1960’s, mediated between rioting students and college administrators, and worked to peacefully desegregate public schools in long-segregated regions. Marshall’s exploration eventually evolved into what is known today as Nonviolent Communication (NVC).
Marshall’s peacemaking work motivated him to found of the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) for which he served as the Director of Educational Services until his death in February, 2015. A dedicated teacher, peace-maker and visionary leader, Marshall led NVC workshops and international intensive trainings for thousands of people in over 60 countries across the world. Marshall was passionate about his work and traveled to war-torn areas and economically disadvantaged countries, offering NVC training to promote reconciliation and peaceful resolution of differences.
By working tirelessly with educators, managers, mental health and health care providers, lawyers, military officers, prisoners, police and prison officials, clergy, government officials, and individual families throughout the world, Marshall has paved the way for a new generation of peacemakers.