- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 30, 2003

BALTIMORE (AP) — Celebrating the spirit of diversity that made the project possible, officials held a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday for the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park — a national cultural center dedicated to black contributions to maritime history.

Douglass and Myers were among 15 black Baltimoreans who founded the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Co. in 1866, the first black-owned company of its kind.

The park, near the city’s Inner Harbor, will feature a promenade along the harbor, a museum in a restored 19th-century warehouse and living exhibits outdoors, where visitors and students will watch shipwrights restore 19th-century sailing vessels such as USS Constellation and the Lady Maryland, using traditional and modern tools.

Construction is scheduled to begin this month, and at least portions of the project should be open within a year. It is being financed by city, state and federal funds as well as private donations.

During a two-hour ceremony featuring political and civic leaders as well as educators, speakers lauded the multiracial spirit that made the project possible.

“At the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, we believe that colored people come in all colors,” said NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, who called the new museum as a “glittering reminder of our collective experience.”

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