Posted on January 25, 2005

House Debates Naming BWI After Marshall

Robert Redding Jr., Washington Times, Jan. 25

A Maryland delegate has introduced legislation that would rename Baltimore-Washington International Airport after Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who died in 1993.

“Thurgood Marshall is the most prominent African-American from Baltimore,” said Delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr., Baltimore County Democrat. “He has a history of NAACP activism, which opened the doors of education in 1954 and the doors of opportunity for all African-Americans and all people of color.”

Mr. Burns’ bill — which would rename the facility Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International Airport — enjoys bipartisan support in the House of Delegates.


Blacks “are just now beginning to catch up with the majority race in terms of symbols and shrines,” said Mr. Burns, a member of the Legislative Black Caucus. “African-Americans have produced great contributions to this country, and they need to be recognized in ways that they have not been in the past. Now is the time to do it.”

The bill, which has more than 35 sponsors, has been referred to the House Health and Government Operations Committee.

As a lawyer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Justice Marshall argued the Brown v. Board of Education (of Topeka, Kan.) case before the high court in 1954. The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling outlawed segregation in public schools.

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Mr. Marshall as U.S. solicitor general, then named him to the Supreme Court in 1967.

Justice Marshall retired from the court in 1991. A Baltimore native, he died in Bethesda at 84 — exactly 12 years ago yesterday.