Firefighters in Baltimore work to extinguish a fire at the historic PS 103 where Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall attended grade school WJZ-TV

Firefighters in Baltimore work to extinguish a fire at the historic PS 103, where Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall attended grade school.

Fire damages historic former school building in Baltimore

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall attended PS 103 as a child.

A historic former school building in Baltimore where former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall once attended classes was heavily damaged in a fire.

The Baltimore Sun reports that firefighters responded Wednesday after heavy smoke was seen coming from the former Public School 103, which also was known as Henry Highland Garnet School. The fire destroyed much of the building's roof, and those who had been working to preserve the structure were working to determine the extent of the damage.

The two-story brick building was constructed in 1877 in the Upton neighborhood of Baltimore.

Marshall, who argued the landmark Brown v. Board of Education desegregation case for the NAACP, and subsequently become the first African-American justice on the nation's highest court, attended the school from first through eighth grade, from 1914 to 1921. The school closed in the 1970s and has been designated as a city landmark.

Repairs have been done in recent years to improve the exterior of the building, and a commission was formed to discuss what to do with the property. Planners envisioned a facility that would honor the legacy of Justice Marshall and other key players in the civil rights movement.

"The rehabilitation of the historic school is an important project for Baltimore," the commission's report says. "...PS 103 will provide a historical experience that is meaningful for the residents of Upton, the citizens of the city and our nation as a whole."

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