May 12, 2021
Baltimore Business Journal
Quest for a local national park honoring Thurgood Marshall moves forward

Details of a quest to create an urban national park in West Baltimore to honor the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall were outlined to Baltimore's historic preservation panel on Tuesday.

The effort is the subject of a study launched by the National Park Service in 2019, which will remain open to public comment through June 1, the city's Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, or CHAP, was told by federal park officials.

The study will lead to a report that is expected to wrap up next year for the U.S. Department of the Interior and, later, Congress for possible legislation to create the park in what today is a blighted block of Upton.

Rev. Alvin Hathaway Sr., pastor at the nearby Union Baptist Church, is spearheading the effort to create the Thurgood Marshall Center and said he had raised $4 million toward the project so far. Hathaway told CHAP that he had spoken with the Park Service officials for the study and would help shepherd the project through the Beloved Community Services Corp., a nonprofit that he helps run in the community.

CHAP members were told the park honoring Marshall has the potential to be Baltimore's second national park next to Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Locust Point. It would celebrate the life, career and legacy of the nation's first Black U.S. Supreme Court justice who was raised in West Baltimore. Marshall was also a civil rights activist and sat on the Supreme Court as an associate justice from October 1967 until October 1991. He died on January 24, 1993, at age 85.

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