City Council renames Manchester Court House after someone still alive for first time ever

by | Jan 27, 2015 | POLITICS

City Council broke precedent Monday night when it voted unanimously to rename the Manchester Courthouse after Henry L. Marsh III, and Harold M. Marsh, Sr. Richmond normally waits until five years after a figure’s death until honoring him or her. Henry L. Marsh, Richmond’s first black mayor, is still alive, and spoke at the meeting.


City Council broke precedent Monday night when it voted unanimously to rename the Manchester Courthouse after Henry L. Marsh III, and Harold M. Marsh, Sr. Richmond normally waits until five years after a figure’s death until honoring him or her. Henry L. Marsh, Richmond’s first black mayor, is still alive, and spoke at the meeting.

Harold M. Marsh, Sr, Henry’s brother, whom the courthouse will also be named for, was a prominent lawyer and substitute judge who was murdered in 1997.

Before the measure was passed the mayor and council declared the month of February African American History Month. The renaming of the courthouse was one of two programs that the mayor introduced.

The other, a program in which five blocks would receive signs honoring the five council members who made up the first black majority on the City Council, was delayed. The council expressed concern that the measure did not have public support.

“Freedom isn’t free,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “This is a difficult road that needs to be remembered by us all.” The mayor stressed his desire to educate young people about the struggle of black Richmonders during slavery and the civil rights movement during the coming month.

Several supporters of the measure to rename the courthouse spoke after it had already passed. Council president Michelle Mosby (top image, left) allowed them to speak because the group had failed to recognize when citizen comment was allowed.

One such man was former City Council member Chuck Richardson. Richardson spoke highly of Marsh, praising work he did desegregating schools and calling his mayorship “unpaved ground.” Richardson quit the council in 1995 after repeated trouble with the law in regards to heroin.

“I think it’s somewhat odd that you all didn’t name the courts building after me,” joked Richardson. “I spent more time in the courts building than most of the lawyers. Most of anyone here in fact.”

Some meeting regulars expressed concern over the breaking of precedent in naming the courthouse after someone who is living.

Members of the city’s #blacklivesmatter protests, who shut down the council’s first meeting last January, left the meeting about an hour and a half in. The council had voted to move public comment to the end of the meeting.

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner




more in politics

RVA Magazine And GayRVA Endorse Virginia Senator Jennifer McClellan

RVA Magazine and GayRVA are proud to endorse Virginia Senator Jennifer McClellan for Virginia's 4th congressional district to continue the progressive legacy of the late Rep. Donald McEachin and represent us in the United States House of Representatives. Our team...

Art & Country: A Sunday Essay

Back in April, I had the great privilege of visiting the Louvre for the first time. The many works in that historic museum exceeded all my expectations and kept me enthralled for the all too short three hours I spent inside. As closing time approached, museum staff...

We want to raise awareness of the situation in Iran with a mural

ed. note: In light of fact checking this morning we have to retract the information presented on our platforms yesterday and clarify that Iran has NOT sentenced 15,000 protestors to the death penalty but the possibly remains they could in the future. We apologize for...

You Beto Work 2: A Bumble Love Letter to Beto O’Rourke

Fall calls for late nights and warm blankets, lost in the small glare of the light from my phone. Tired of endlessly swiping right on the same balding white guy named Jeff holding a spotted bass he is entirely too proud of. Tinder? Never. I’m far higher brow than...

Dissociative Gaze Into The Abyss: A Sunday Essay

Is the revival of the 2014 Tumblr girl how the internet copes with the end of the world?  The dissociative pout, also referred to as the dissociative gaze, was first coined by i-D Magazine in the 2022 article “The cult of the dissociative pout” by Rayne Fisher-Quann,...

Pin It on Pinterest