Local Developer and Community Activist is Breathing New Life into a Historic West Baltimore Building.
In the Upton neighborhood of West Baltimore—a cultural center of the city’s Black community—sits the vacant and former elementary school attended by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. It was originally constructed in 1877 and operated as a public elementary school known as P.S. 103, for 94 years.
During much of the period prior to racial integration, P.S. 103 served only Black students from the surrounding neighborhoods. Shortly after closing, the city of Baltimore leased the building to the Upton Planning Committee, which operated the Upton Cultural and Arts Center until the early 1990s. Many of the building’s students and residents of its surrounding streets went on to become great leaders of Baltimore—including Thurgood Marshall, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, and housing advocate Lena J. Boone. But for nearly 30 years, the historic building and community pillar at 1315 Division Street has sat empty. Until now…
Driven by pride in the local legacy of Justice Marshall and a burning desire to restore the building to prominence as an anchor in West Baltimore, Dr. Alvin C. Hathaway—president/CEO of the Beloved Community Services Corporation (BCSC)—is leading the historic rehabilitation and commercial reuse of the former segregated elementary school. Pastor Hathaway is a Black developer and prominent community activist. His mantra is “Justice Thurgood Marshall should be to Baltimore as The Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr is to Atlanta.”
Through the transformation of P.S. 103, into the P.S.103 Justice Thurgood Marshall Center, Hathaway plans to fulfill BCSC’s mission to serve urban communities by offering services that transform lives. The property, which includes the school building and eight additional parcels used as surface parking, will be fully rehabilitated and repositioned as a community hub and offices for local non-profit organizations.