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Thurgood Marshall's School (Public School 103) Special Resource Study

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As directed by Congress in 2019, the National Park Service prepared a special resource study of Public School 103 (P.S. 103), the elementary school of former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, located at 1315 Division Street, Baltimore, Maryland, and any other resources in the neighborhood surrounding P.S. 103 that relate to the early life of Thurgood Marshall to evaluate their potential for inclusion within the National Park Service system.

What is a Special Resource Study?

New national park units are typically added to the National Park Service (NPS) by an Act of Congress. Prior to designation, a special resource study is usually conducted on the resource to determine if it meets established criteria for designation as a national park unit.

The purpose of this special resource study was to gather information about P.S 103 related to the early life of Thurgood Marshall through historical research and public input, and then to report these findings to Congress. The special resource study will evaluate the potential for inclusion of the property in the national park system based upon whether it meets established criteria for significance, suitability, feasibility, and the need for NPS management. Please use the "Links" tab on the left to find additional information on the criteria used to evaluate new national parklands.

Applying these criteria consistently helps the National Park Service weigh the relative merits of potential park units and to ensure that only those most deserving of designation are included within the national park system. A special resource study may also weigh other management options.

Project Background

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. Thurgood Marshall attended P.S. 103 from 1st through 8th grade, from 1914 to 1921. In adulthood, Marshall became the lead council for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a leading civil rights lawyer, and the first African-American U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

In March 2019, Congress passed Public Law 116-9, The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. The 2019 Act directs the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of P.S. 103 and any other resources in the neighborhood surrounding P.S. 103 that relate to the early life of Thurgood Marshall. Based on this legislated directive, the National Park Service analyzed the property for its inclusion as a new unit of the national park system.

The study was completed and transmitted to Congress for their consideration on January 19, 2023. Please click on the "Document List" tab for a PDF copy of the study.

Contact Information

Martha Droge
National Park Service, Interior Region 1
267-883-9779