July 2 is now Thurgood Marshall Day in Maryland.
With proclamations from Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, July 2, Marshall’s birthday, will now honor the Baltimore native and first African American justice on the Supreme Court.
Marshall grew up in West Baltimore, and attended elementary school at P.S. 103, also known as Henry Highland Garnet School, where community members gathered Friday to celebrate the first Thurgood Marshall Day. The former school, now a vacant red brick building emblazoned with a “No Loitering” sign and marred by chipping paint, was the epicenter of Marshall’s neighborhood growing up, just blocks away from his house, church and family store.
Cynthia Shaw, a 1956 graduate of P.S. 103, said that growing up, she did not know Marshall’s legacy, or that his activism was the reason many of her classmates went on to integrated high schools. Now, with the designation of Thurgood Marshall day and plans to redevelop and reopen the former school on Division Street as a community center, Shaw said she hopes children growing up in Upton will know Marshall’s name and the legacy of the school.
The new building will undergo an $8.2 million renovation, according to the Rev. Alvin C. Hathaway Sr., senior pastor of Union Baptist Church and president of Beloved Community Services Corp., the nonprofit leading the renovation.
Organizers hope to create resources for the Upton and West Baltimore community, while allowing the values and activism of Marshall to live on in a new generation, according to Hathaway. "Justice Thurgood Marshall will be to Baltimore as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is to Atlanta,” Hathaway said. “He is our native son.”
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