To honor Italian-Americans — in particular, Baltimore’s descendant community and their heritage — the city should consider rededicating the President Street site where the Christopher Columbus statue stood to honor two mayors: Thomas J. D’Alesandro, Jr. and Thomas J. D’Alesandro III, known locally as “Big Tommy” and “Young Tommy.”
The former, a delegate, city councilman, congressman and mayor, was a titan of Little Italy and a driving force in the mid-century development of Baltimore who wielded political influence at the state and national levels. Sculptures of “Big Tommy” currently located near Charles Center, itself under perennial redevelopment consideration, could be relocated to President Street, arguably a more appropriate site.
“Young Tommy,” who died last October, was a “shiny bright” council president and mayor whose career was notably marked by a commitment to civil rights. In his obituary (“The D’Alesandros: a Baltimore political powerhouse that gave us two mayors and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi," Oct. 20, 2019), late civil rights leader the Rev. Marion C. Bascom is quoted describing him as “the greatest mayor in Baltimore’s modern history.”
In this time of reckoning, we’re rightfully reviewing what and whom we choose to honor in our public spaces. When we can do so without further pitting community members against one another, so much the better.
Clinton Macsherry, Baltimore
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