Thursday, May 23, 2024

Civil Rights Groups Push to Rename Baltimore Bridge Due to Namesake’s Links to Slavery

Baltimore Key Bridge collapse (Tasos Katopodis-Getty Images via CNN Newsource)
Baltimore Key Bridge collapse (Tasos Katopodis-Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

*Maryland civil rights groups unanimously petitioned to rename the Francis Scott Key Bridge due to its namesake’s history as a slave owner.

The group is calling on the Maryland state government to rename the bridge because Key, author of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” was a slave owner, NBC News reports. The bridge was destroyed by a cargo ship last month, and Federal and state officials are discussing strategies for reconstructing it.

The Caucus of African American Leaders, comprising organizations such as the NAACP and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, calls upon Governor Wes Moore and the General Assembly to reassess the bridge’s current name. According to NBC News, they propose renaming it in honor of Rep. Parren J. Mitchell, Maryland’s first Black representative elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1970.  She passed away in 2007.

“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. 

We reported via CNN that the Key Bridge collapsed after a container vessel called Dali collided with one of its supports on March 26. Dali is operated by Singapore-based Synergy Group but had been chartered to carry cargo by Danish shipping giant Maersk.

“This morning’s bridge collapse in Baltimore threatens to disrupt logistics activity up and down the east coast,” Nationwide Financial markets economist Oren Klachkin said at the time of the incident. 

In a post on X, the Port of Baltimore said vessel traffic was suspended until further notice.

“We are omitting Baltimore on all our services for the foreseeable future until it is deemed safe for passage through this area,” Maersk said in a statement. The company said it would discharge cargo destined for Baltimore in other ports nearby, but Maesrk warned customers that could mean delays, per CNN.

According to the Maryland Transportation Authority, the Key Bridge recorded an annual traffic volume surpassing 11 million vehicles.

The FBI has opened an investigation into the bridge collapse. On X (formerly Twitter), one cynic wrote, “Don’t celebrate that the FBI opened an investigation into the container ship that knocked down the Francis Scott Key bridge…In a month, they’ll conclude that it was definitely not an attack and “just an accident.”

READ MORE: How the Port of Baltimore Closure Could Hurt the Economy + WATCH Bridge Collapse After Hit by Ship | VIDEO

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