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Justice Thurgood Marshall's Baltimore Childhood School To Be Renovated Into Community Center

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- July 2 is now considered a special day moving forward for Maryland. City leaders are calling for a statewide holiday to recognize Justice Thurgood Marshall. The plea comes from a historic monument in the city.

This has been called the epicenter of Marshall's life and education. It may be vacant, but it soon will come alive once again.

It's his 113th birthday and from this day forward in Maryland, July 2 will be called Thurgood Marshall Day. Signed proclamations from Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and Gov. Larry Hogan recognize the first Black Justice on the Supreme Court, who called Baltimore home. The acknowledgments don't stop there.

"We'd like to keep on pushing because we'd like to have this day be forever in the memory of our state as a state holiday," said the Rev. Alvin C. Hathaway Sr., president of Beloved Community Services Corp.

On Friday, city and state leaders announced the news in front of Henry Highland Garnet School on Division Street, where Marshall went to school.

"We're going to restore this building one to its historic significance," Hathaway said.

Five thousand square feet, this school used to have 12 classrooms and 20 teachers when Marshall was a student here. Trees once were growing inside the building. The playground is now a street. Everything you see here will be transformed and renovated with art capturing your eye as the main display.

The community center will have four signature programs including legal education, research, projects for children and public leadership.

"You are not going to miss this. They wanted something where people will stop and do the 'Ooo-ahh' effect, like, 'Whoa, who's this in the house?'" artist Leslie King Hammond said.

It'll cost $8.2 million for everything to be completely renovated. The plan is for everything to be finalized by January.

"Justice Thurgood Marshall will be to Baltimore as Rev. Martin Luther King is to Atlanta," Hathaway said.

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