Elected Officials Remember Queens’ First African American Borough President

Leaders from across the city descended onto Queens Borough Hall to remember Former Borough President Helen Marshall.  Our Gene Apodaca was there for the Celebration of her life.

Just one day after she was laid to rest, elected officials from across the city gathered to reflect on the life of Helen Marshall. The pioneering former Queens Borough President died March 4th in California, however she'll always be remembered for her impact in the borough.  

"We must always remember that it is not how long she lived but how well she lived those days she was given," said former New York City Mayor, David Dinkins.

"She understood that education is something that no one, no one could take away from you ever," said Queens Borough President, Melinda Katz.

Though there were many poignant moments, the ceremony itself was joyous. Those closest to her reflected on the lighter moments they shared outside of Borough Hall.

“She could do with chicken wings that I have never been exposed to before.  But not only was she good with chicken wings she was good with people,” said former Council Member Archie Spigner.

Congressman Gregory Meeks even taking a swipe at the current president, as he reflected on Marshall's humble beginnings.  

"Born in 1929 from immigrant parents, Donald Trump, who came and made the United States, not greater, great because it still is great," said Meeks.

It was a long road to become Queens' first African American Borough President. Marshall lost her mother at age 3, her father at 16.  Her daughter says Marshall never forgot those who helped her achieve her dreams.

“Whenever she would see a child in need or know of a need my mother was always the first one to be there,” said Agnes Marie Marshall.

That was reflected in her work. She spent 113 million dollars on parks for kids and seniors, 81 million dollars on libraries, including a children’s library, and more.

The celebration of life was held here inside the Helen Marshall Cultural Center, an atrium named after the former Borough President who spearheaded it's construction.

“I just describe her as a cyclone, she just swept everyone up in her energy her force and love of other human beings,“ said US Rep. Jeffrion Aubry.

A lasting legacy that certainly will live on in the borough and across the city.

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