Legislator Honored for Commitment to Service and Equality
BLADENSBURG, MD (September 7, 2010) – Today at a morning ceremony at the Bladensburg Waterfront Park on Annapolis Road, colleagues, friends and family members of the late Senator Gwendolyn Greene Britt gathered with Governor Martin O’Malley to dedicate the CSX Bridge over MD 450 to the hard-working Prince George’s County senator whose service to constituents was legendary.
“Today’s dedication is a fitting tribute to a visionary leader who spent her life fighting to create a stronger, fairer future for all Americans,” said Governor O’Malley. “Senator Britt was not someone who bragged about her accomplishments. But without Senator Britt’s perseverance, the new CSX bridge might not be here today. When the future of this bridge was in doubt, Senator Britt fought for the funding needed to finish construction.”
Gwendolyn Greene made headlines in the 1960s when she was arrested at the Glen Echo Amusement Park <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glen_Echo_Park_(Maryland)> for refusing to leave. She was one of five Howard University <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_University> students who were plaintiffs in civil rights suits that were heard before the Supreme Court <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supreme_Court_of_the_United_States> arguing for desegregation of the amusement park <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glen_Echo_Park_(Maryland)> .
She was also a Freedom Rider in the ‘60s and spent 40 days in jail in Jackson, Mississippi <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson,_Mississippi> . She was a voter registration volunteer in McComb, Mississippi <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McComb,_Mississippi> , helping African Americans who had been denied the right to register to vote because they could not interpret the Constitution before white registrars.
In 2007, Senator Britt co-sponsored a controversial bill with State Delegate Justin Ross that would allow convicted released felons the right to vote. The bill successfully passed both the houses of the legislature. She was a member of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legislative_Black_Caucus_of_Maryland> and chairman of the Prince George's County Senate Delegation.
Her sudden death in January 2007 after five years in the State Legislature was a tremendous loss not only to her family and constituents, but to her colleagues and those who worked with her outside of the legislature.