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Benjamin C.
Democrat MD

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  • Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

    by Senator Benjamin L. Cardin

    Posted on 2013-01-23

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    CARDIN (for himself and Ms. Mikulski): S. 103. A bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of P.S. 103 in West Baltimore, Maryland, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

    Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, today I am proud to introduce the Justice Thurgood Marshall's Elementary School Study Act. The elementary school that Justice Marshall attended, known as PS 103, located in my hometown of Baltimore, is a place of national significance because it marks the site where one of our Nation's greatest legal minds began his education.

    Thurgood Marshall is well known as one of the most significant historical figures of the American civil rights movement. By the time he was 32, he was appointed the chief legal counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP. He served at the NAACP a total of 25 years and was a key strategist to end racial segregation throughout the United States.

    Perhaps the greatest illustration of this effort was his victory before the Supreme Court overturning the Plessy doctrine effectively ending school segregation with the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, KS, in 1954. Not only did this case open up educational opportunity and sparked the civil rights movement in this Nation, it also marked the beginning of Thurgood Marshall's career, still a young attorney from Baltimore, as one of the greatest legal minds in all the land. This case was just one of the 29 cases he won before the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Fittingly, Marshall was the first African American confirmed to the Supreme Court. He was nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967 and served 24 years, until 1991. On the high court, Marshall continued his fight for the Constitutional protection of individual human rights.

    But Thurgood Marshall was not always a legal giant. He was once a young boy growing up in West Baltimore. He received the first 6 years of his public education at PS 103. An apocryphal story goes that a young Thurgood Marshall studied the U.S. Constitution in the basement of the building while serving detention. Regardless of whether or not this is true, the building powerfully tells the story of racial segregation in America, PS 103 was a ``blacks only'' school when Justice Marshall was a student, and marks the academic beginning of one of the country's most brilliant legal thinkers and a pioneer of the civil rights movement.

    The building is located at 1315 Division Street in the Upton Neighborhood of Old West Baltimore. The building is part of the Old West Baltimore National Register Historic District, and is listed as a contributing historic resource for the neighborhood. The Old West Baltimore historic district is one of the largest predominately African American historic districts in the country, and its significance is centered on the African American experience in the area.

    In Baltimore, we are fortunate to have the National Park Service operate two historical sites, Fort McHenry and the Hampton Mansion. Adding PS 103 is a unique opportunity for the National Park Service to work in Baltimore's inner-city and to reach out and engage people about African American history.

    Needless to say, Thurgood Marshall's legacy is one that should be preserved. He was one of our country's greatest legal minds and a prominent historical figure of one chapter of our country's great history--the civil rights movement. This bill authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of PS 103 to evaluate the suitability and feasibility of establishing the building as a unit of the National Park Service. Preserving the building that was Justice Marshall's elementary school will give Americans insight into Justice Marshall's childhood.

    Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the Record.

    There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be printed in the Record as follows: S. 103 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Thurgood Marshall's Elementary School Study Act''.


    In this Act: (1) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of the Interior.

    (2) Study area.--The term ``study area'' means P.S. 103, the public school located in West Baltimore, Maryland, which Thurgood Marshall attended as a youth.


    (a) Study.--The Secretary shall conduct a special resource study of the study area.

    (b) Contents.--In conducting the study under subsection (a), the Secretary shall-- (1) evaluate the national significance of the study area; (2) determine the suitability and feasibility of designating the study area as a unit of the National Park System; (3) consider other alternatives for preservation, protection, and interpretation of the study area by the Federal Government, State or local government entities, or private and nonprofit organizations; (4) consult with interested Federal agencies, State or local governmental entities, private and nonprofit organizations, or any other interested individuals; (5) identify cost estimates for any Federal acquisition, development, interpretation, operation, and maintenance associated with the alternatives; and (6) identify any authorities that would compel or permit the Secretary to influence local land use decisions under the alternatives.

    (c) Applicable Law.--The study required under subsection (a) shall be conducted in accordance with section 8 of the National Park System General Authorities Act (16 U.S.C. 1a- 5).

    (d) Report.--Not later than 3 years after the date on which funds are first made available to carry out the study under subsection (a), the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate a report that describes-- [[Page S220]] (1) the results of the study; and (2) any conclusions and recommendations of the Secretary.

    ______ By Mr. DURBIN (for himself, Mr. Harkin, and Mr. Franken): S. 113. A bill to amend the Truth in Lending Act and the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require certain creditors to obtain certifications from institutions of higher education, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

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