Long lost in the history books, Theodore McKeldin was the last elected Republican mayor of Baltimore City! Imagine that! Baltimore once having a Republican mayor!
He was the 53rd governor of Maryland from 1951 to 1959, beating his opponent William Preston Lane, Jr. in 1950 by the largest margin in state history up till that point in time.
He helped create the Baltimore Beltway, but didn’t create the traffic that now clogs it every day. You can thank your nearby federal government for that.
But one of his most memorable quotes, reflecting on his push for the interstate road system, was this:
“I rode by train over several state borders. I carried no passports. No one asked me to identify myself. No one had the right to. This is America.”
But you may think, oh a Republican, well he probably hated minorities.
Not so, he was one of the state’s staunchest civil rights supporters,
Having worked to end segregation in Baltimore theaters, stores and lunch counters. As governor, he ordered the integration of state ferries and beaches, abolished racially based lists for state jobs and played a crucial role in ending school and hotel segregation. -From The Baltimore Sun
Ironically, he once said in a speech that recreation should not be compulsory, even though the McKeldin Recreation Area, a state park in Carroll County, MD, has his namesake.
History is stranger than fiction.
Go here for more information on the exhibit.