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Theodore R. McKeldin, 1951-1959

Called the "Boy Orator," Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin, son of a stonecutter-turned-policeman, was born one of 11 children on Norway Street in South Baltimore. He attended City College at night while working as an office boy in a bank during the day. He graduated from the University of Maryland Law School in 1925, and began his political assent two years later, working for Baltimore Mayor William F. Broening. McKeldin, a Republican, was twice mayor of Baltimore (1943-1947 and 1963-1967) and two-term governor, serving 1951 to 1959. Like Ritchie, McKeldin rose to national prominence, and was mentioned as a possible running mate in 1952 with Dwight D. Eisenhower. At the convention in Chicago that summer, it was McKeldin who placed Ike's name in nomination. However, the vice presidential nod eluded the popular McKeldin which went instead to Richard M. Nixon. A champion of liberal causes, when the Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregation of races in public schools came out, McKeldin said, "We have to rid our souls of prejudice." He was "identified with many of the state's biggest highway and redevelopment projects including the State Office Building in Baltimore, Charles Center and the Inner Harbor renewal projects," reported The Sun. The longtime Homeland resident retired from public life in 1967 and returned to his law practice, while maintaining a vigorous speaking schedule and remaining active in national Republic Party politics. At his death in 1974, ironically two days after the resignation of the man who had beat him out for the vice presidential spot, The Sun said, "More important than structures of stone and steel were Mr. McKeldin's championing of unpopular causes that he knew were right, although there were no votes in them. One of these was social justice and the toppling of racial barriers to provide first-class citizenship for all." He rests in Green Mount Cemetery.
Frank Gardina, Baltimore Sun
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