Bill would rename Rt. 17 stretch in honor of Thurgood Marshall’s legacy

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Hudson Valley lawmakers are looking to honor Thurgood Marshall, the trailblazing U.S. Supreme Court justice who left a legacy in Hillburn.

In 1943, Travis Jackson, now 85, was a fourth-grader at the all-black Brook Elementary School in the village. The cramped, rundown four-room building seen in a recent documentary by producer Joseph Allen was hardly conducive to learning.

"There was no library. There was no playground really. Worse thing about it [was the] outside toilets that we had to use," Jackson told News 12.

Frustrated black parents in Hillburn kept their kids home in protest. They then brought in a rising-star lawyer from the NAACP to champion their cause. His name: Thurgood Marshall.

Marshall fought the New York state Commissioner of Education to integrate the all-white main school and won the case.

To honor Marshall's legacy, Hudson Valley lawmakers have proposed legislation renaming a section of Route 17 in Hillburn the Thurgood Marshall Memorial Highway. It would run through almost the entire two-mile stretch of the Village of Hillburn.

“It's so fitting that we rename this highway after him, particularly because this was the dividing line that was segregating our community," said state Sen. David Carlucci.

 

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