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[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]
Posted on January 23, 2003:
I have been lucky to serve as Chairman of the St. Clement’s Island-Potomac River Museum for several years. This nationally accredited museum honors the memory of the first landing of English colonists who would later found the State of Maryland and it also showcases the rich history of the Potomac River.
As chair, I have come to realize how important museums are to our citizens. Not only are they extremely educational; they are big tourist attractions and a great boost to our local economy. They are especially popular among school groups. We have many museums in Southern Maryland that are fascinating to visit.
One is Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum in St. Leonard.
Because of its importance to our community, I was proud to stand in front of the Board of Public Works recently to fight for $987,000 that will fund construction of the expansion of the Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum’s visitors center. The most prominent feature of this center will be a re-creation of the Annapolis office of one of Maryland’s most beloved sons -- Louis L. Goldstein, state Comptroller, Senator, proud Marine, loving husband and father. We lost Louis five years ago, but his memory lives on.
In the summer of 2003, we will be able to revisit Louis’ legendary office in Annapolis. It was here that virtually every major public official in Maryland came to show their respect and do business with the truly honorable Louis Goldstein.
It was also here that all citizens who Louis loved to represent had, an open door policy invitation from Mr. Maryland himself.
The replica of his office at the Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum will be welcome for all of us who remember visiting him. And for those who didn’t, they will come away impressed, knowing this was a much loved and respected public official.
Louis’ office will feature many pictures with prominent individuals such as President Kennedy, former governors, U.S. Senators and Representatives and State Senators and Delegates. It will also feature numerous shovels from the thousands of groundbreaking ceremonies Louis attended as well as plaques of appreciation from virtually every charitable and civic organization in the state and throughout the country.
This interesting memorabilia was fascinating to observe when I would visit Louis in his office and I’m looking forward to once again seeing it as it was in the appropriately named Louis L. Goldstein Treasury Building in Annapolis.
In a note sent to me by Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, the former governor recognized the need for this important project.
“I strongly support the establishment of this memorial to Louis,” Schaefer wrote me. “The re-created office will make an excellent exhibit and a fitting memorial. Thank you for your continued commitment to the citizens of Southern Maryland and to the State of Maryland. Your work to assure the preservation of the memory of one of Maryland’s greatest public servants is much appreciated.”
This state expenditure won’t just be going towards restoring Louis’ office. It will also enhance the visitor’s center at this 560-acre working park and museum that emphasizes the value of archeology, the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the environment in general and the history and prehistory of Southern Maryland.
Groundbreaking for this new center is slated for October 18.
Senator Roy Dyson’s Maryland Day Speech, March 25, 2002
Delivered to Senate members in Senate Chambers on March 25, the 368th
birthday of Maryland
Happy Maryland Day! I know you all know this. If I could roll out a birthday cake for Maryland, how many candles would be on it? Yes, you are right, 368. Every year Mr. President, you allow me to deliver this Maryland Day speech and let me tell you I appreciate it very much. I get a great deal of pleasure out of doing this.
I reside in St. Mary’s County. I was born in St. Mary’s County. It was down in St. Mary’s County on St. Clement’s Island where the state was founded and a little while later moved over to St. Mary’s City which became Maryland’s first state capital.
The dream of setting up a colony in Maryland to protect religious beliefs was the idea of George Calvert. George Calvert never got to see that dream become a reality, but his two sons, Cecil and Leonard, did. Leonard became the first governor of the colony.
We’re fortunate that George Calvert had this idea, because it is still here.
Some very special people landed on St. Clement’s Island including our first women attorney -- Margaret Brent. It was this woman who asked this body, Mr. President, for the right to vote. Unfortunately, this body turned her town.
It was in this body that the first African-American cast a vote in the General Assembly. He voted for religious toleration.
Everyone in this body will not forget where we were on Sept. 11, 2001. I was home and ready to go to a St. Clement’s Island-Potomac River Museum Board meeting. Since I am Chair of that Board, members called me to ask if we were still having the meeting. I told them “Yes.” I couldn’t think of a better place to be that day in a place where good people came to this land and established this act of religious toleration.
The Act of Religious Toleration lasted only 11 years then was followed by some of the worst religious persecution in history in the history of this country. It got so bad that Margaret Brent left this state and moved to Virginia where she later died.
Now in St. Mary’s City, there is an attempt to rebuild the Catholic Church that was destroyed during the religious persecution. We have already rebuilt a replica of the original State House.
When you go to St. Mary’s City, bricks from the original capital and church are on the grounds of the Episcopal Church that sits there now. They serve as a reminder of what once was a great idea.
What we celebrate today is that band of hearty folk who brought the idea of religious freedom that we enjoy today. We celebrate their determination. We should say happy birthday to them, pray God they did what they did and that they were here when they were.
Happy Maryland Day!
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