- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 29, 2005

ANNAPOLIS — The widow of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall yesterday attended a rally in support of renaming Baltimore-Washington International Airport after her husband.

Cecilia Marshall, 76, spoke to a crowd of supporters and lawmakers, asking them to rename BWI after the U.S. Supreme Court’s first black justice.

“We cannot think of a higher honor than to honor Thurgood in this way,” Mrs. Marshall said.

House Deputy Majority Whip Emmett C. Burns Jr., Baltimore County Democrat and sponsor of the bill, urged participants to phone members of a committee to request they support the bill.

“A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step,” the pastor of Rising Sun Baptist Church in Woodlawn preached to the crowd of about 100 supporters. “I am pleased we have strong bipartisan support on this bill, and the governor has indicated he will sign it.”

The House approved the bill in a 104-25 vote, but the name change stalled in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. has said he will not block the effort, but said it would be more fitting if the University of Maryland School of Law were named after Justice Marshall.

“The sponsor of that bill just needs to work the bill and do whatever it takes to get a bill passed,” Mr. Miller, Prince George’s Democrat, said last week. “I am not involved. I am not holding it up. I am not saying anybody vote against it or anything like that. If it passes, it passes.”

Mr. Burns and other black Democrats have said Mr. Miller has tried to kill the bill and predict that lack of support for the bill will eventually would hurt Democrats at the ballot box.

There has been some division in the Senate not to support the bill and to study the bill’s feasibility instead.

Mr. Burns said renaming the airport would cost the state about $250,000 because not every sign would need to be replaced.

Delegate Herbert H. McMillan, Anne Arundel Republican, who supports the bill, said he thinks Justice Marshall had the “greatest impact on the country next to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

Mrs. Marshall also received a citation from House Speaker Michael E. Busch recognizing her husband’s work.

“I can’t think of a more prominent Marylander than Mr. Marshall,” the Anne Arundel Democrat said.


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