This year (2023) marks the 70th anniversary of Thurgood Marshall’s (1908 – 1993) argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Brown v. Board of Education case on Dec. 8th, 1953. In his closing remarks to the Court, Marshall wrote:
“The duty of enforcing the Fourteenth Amendment is placed upon this Court… the Fourteenth Amendment was intended to deprive the states of power to enforce Black Codes or anything else like it… [Is there] some reason why of all of the multitudinous groups of people in this country, you have to single out Negroes and give them this separate treatment… The only [reason for this] is an inherent determination that the people who were formerly in slavery, regardless of anything else, shall be kept as near that stage as is possible, and now is the time, we submit, that this Court should make it clear that that is not what our Constitution stands for.”
Marshall is a founding father of the Second Reconstruction, which helped to re- establish the standard of nondiscrimination policy and equal justice through Brown v. Board, the Civil Rights (1964), and Voting Rights (1965) Acts. The societal legacy of Justice Marshall is just one of the myriad reasons why The Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Center for Education, Justice & Ethics (Judge AW Center) is honored to partner with Cross Street Partners and The Beloved Community Services Corporation in the revitalization of West Baltimore, MD. Current renovations to the historic Henry Highland Garnet School (PS103) will transform it into the Justice Thurgood Marshall Amenity Center at PS 103, which will honor the legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall and other Civil Rights leaders who called Upton home while also providing needed community services, resources, and education in the historically underserved community. The Amenity Center will be a major step forward in establishing Upton as a cultural tourism destination to celebrate and honor the community’s significance in the nation’s Civil Rights Movement. As the anchor tenant in this soon-to-be renovated space, the Judge AW Center will bring applied research and community-based educational programing to a newly renovated space that will serve as a forum where solutions addressing the systemic challenges confronting Baltimore can be pushed fearlessly forward.
In addition, we are excited to launch The Judge AW Center’s Community Invested Violence Intervention Collaborative (CIVIC) Baltimore Initiative. The C.I.V.I.C. Baltimore Initiative will add value to The Justice Thurgood Marshall Center (JTMC) at P.S. 103 by bringing a blend of applied academic research, youth engagement, violence intervention programming, health advocacy, and professional development education in the area of ethical public leadership to the beloved community of West Baltimore, MD. A dynamic speaker series, applied gun violence intervention research, juvenile diversion programming, and student-centered social justice education are just a few exciting aspects of this multifaceted initiative, which will transform the JTMC into a forum where solutions addressing the systemic challenges confronting Baltimore can be advanced in partnership with, for, and by West Baltimore community leaders.