Bill Seeks to Name USDOT HQ for First African-American Transportation Secretary

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., proposed legislation this week with bipartisan support that would rename the U.S. Department of Transportation’s headquarters building in Washington, D.C., after William Thaddeus Coleman, Jr. (in photo above at right) – the fourth U.S. Secretary of Transportation and first African American to serve in the position.

[Above photo of the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and William Coleman provided by the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library]

Dubbed the William T. Coleman Jr. Department of Transportation Headquarters Act, that legislation seeks to not only honor Coleman’s role in the transportation industry but his legal career as well, as he argued 19 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and co-authored the historic Brown v. Board of Education legal brief as well.

Sen. Bob Casey

“Secretary Coleman exemplified the virtues of public service,” Sen. Casey said in a statement. “He was the first African American to serve as a U.S. Supreme Court clerk and helped argue McLaughlin v. Florida in 1964 to strike down laws preventing interracial marriage.”

Coleman – who died in 2017 – was appointed USDOT Secretary of Transportation by President Gerald Ford in 1975 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in 1995.

Co-sponsors of Sen. Casey’s bill include: Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. – chairman and ranking member, respectively, for the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation – as well as Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. – chairman and ranking member, respectively, for the Committee on Environment and Public Works – as well as Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Penn.

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