Thurgood Marshall's Elementary School Study Act
STATEMENT OF P. DANIEL SMITHH, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, EXERCISING THE AUTHORITY OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, CONCERNING S. 1645, 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.
February 14, 2018
Chairman Daines, Ranking Member King, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to provide the Department of the Interior’s views on S. 1645, 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.
The Department recognizes that P.S. 103, the elementary school that Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall attended, would be an appropriate subject for a National Park Service special resource study. However, we do not support enactment of S. 1645 at this time. In order to focus resources on reducing the National Park Service’s $11.6 billion deferred maintenance backlog and addressing other critical national park needs, no increase in funding is requested for special resource studies in the Administration’s FY 2019 budget. Currently, the National Park Service is conducting 22 previously authorized studies to determine if areas have potential for inclusion in the National Park System as new units, national heritage areas, national trails, or wild and scenic rivers. Under these circumstances, we believe it would be unwise to authorize a new special resource study.
P.S. 103 was originally built in 1877 for West Baltimore’s white immigrant population but, in 1911, it became a segregated African-American school serving the Upton community of West Baltimore. The school is significant for its role in the education of Thurgood Marshall, who is best known as the lead counsel for the landmark school desegregation case, Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and as the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. Thurgood Marshall attended P.S. 103 from 1st through 8th grade (1914 to 1921).
Marshall’s accomplishments in systematically dismantling the legal framework for Jim Crow segregation are the foundation upon which the success of the Civil Rights Movement was built.
P.S. 103 is owned by the City of Baltimore and is included in the Baltimore National Heritage Area.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.