Queens elected officials and community leaders gathered in Corona on Sunday to pay tribute to the borough’s former leader, Helen Marshall, during a street-renaming ceremony.
Marshall, who died in March at age 87, was Queens’ first African American borough president. She also served in the state Assembly and City Council.
The street corner located between 103rd Street and Northern Boulevard in Corona was renamed Helen M. Marshall Boulevard during the weekend ceremony.
“I’ll always be grateful to Helen, whom I always considered a friend and a mentor,” said Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-East Elmhurst). “She was the first person to introduce me to politics when I was just 14 years old. Now, as I’m close to my retirement from politics, I’m very happy to be able to do this last act to honor Helen’s legacy.”
Marshall was born in the Bronx in 1929 to immigrant parents from Guyana. She moved to Corona in 1949 and then to East Elmhurst.
Marshall first entered politics as a Democratic district leader in 1974 and, from 1983 to 1991, represented the state Assembly’s 35th District. She became a member of the City Council, representing Queens’ 21st District from 1992 to 2001, and then served three terms as borough president. She was remembered by colleagues as an advocate for schools and libraries.
“As the first African American borough president of Queens and only the second woman to be elected to the position, Helen Marshall was a trailblazer,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Marshall’s successor.