Helen Marshall Playground

Helen Marshall (1929-2017) was the first African American Queens Borough President from 2002 – 2013.

Marshall was born in Manhattan to immigrant parents of African descent from Guyana. The family moved to Queens in 1949, settling first in Corona and then in East Elmhurst. Marshall graduated with a B.A. in education from Queens College. After teaching for eight years, she left to help found the Langston Hughes Library in 1969, where she was the first Director. She served in the State Assembly for 8 years and then served on the City Council for 10 years, before becoming the first African American and the second woman to serve as the Queens Borough President. She supported job training programs and economic development and was a devoted supporter of the Queens Public Library.

In 2020 as part of an NYC Parks initiative to expand the representation of African Americans honored in parks, East Elmhurst Park was renamed for Helen Marshall.


“The Honorable Helen Marshall,” The History Makers, accessed November 10, 2022, https://www.thehistorymakers.org/biography/honorable-helen-marshall

Bill Parry, “Former Borough President Helen Marshall honored with street co-naming in Corona,” QNS.com, December 14, 2017, https://qns.com/2017/12/former-borough-president-helen-marshall-honored-with-street-co-naming-in-corona/

"Helen Marshall Playground," New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, accessed September 30, 2022,  https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/east-elmhurst-playground