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A Look at the History of the Federal Highway Administration
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March 7
1975 In a White House ceremony conducted by President Gerald Ford, William T. Coleman, Jr., becomes the first African-American to serve as Secretary of Transportation. The oath of office is administered by Coleman's friend and colleague, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. President Ford tells the guests that the new Secretary has a mandate to help save energy, develop mass transportation, strengthen the railroads, and ensure an equitable and stern enforcement of the 55 m.p.h. speed limit brought on by oil shortages. For FHWA, his tenure would be marked by direct involvement in settling highway controversies.
President Gerald R. Ford looks on (left) as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall administers oath of Office to Secretary William T. Coleman, Jr.
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