Civil Rights Groups Want Baltimore Bridge Renamed Due To Slavery Ties

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Civil rights groups are urging political leaders to rename Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge following its collapse last month.

According to NBC News, the caucus of African American Leaders, whose members include various civil rights groups like the NAACP and National Coalition of 100 Black Women, voted last week to petition the Maryland state government to reconsider the name of the Baltimore bridge.

Francis Scott Key, the author of "The Star-Spangled Banner," wrote the national anthem in 1814 near the Patapsco River where the bridge was built in the 1970s. Key was also a slave owner and is attributed with writing that Black Americans are “a distinct and inferior race of people, which all experience proves to be the greatest evil that afflicts a community."

The Star Spangled Music Foundation previously said Key's words were misconstrued in isolation.

The Caucus of African American Leaders suggested the bridge be renamed after the late Rep. Parren J. Mitchell, who made history as the first Black Marylander elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1970.

“He spent a life, his entire life, creating a bridge between the African American community and literally the larger society,” Carl O. Snowden, the convener for the Caucus of African American Leaders, told NBC News.

The recommendation is set to be shared with Governor Wes Moore (D) this month. The caucus is also seeking a memorial for the six Latino workers who were killed on March 26 when a cargo containment ship crashed into the bridge.

“Every single public structure that is built to honor someone is being done using all taxpayers’ money,” Snowden said. “Whoever the bridge is named after should be somebody that all taxpayers can respect.”

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