BALTIMORE — St. Ignatius Church was filled with a virtual who's who of political figures, past and present, to pay tribute to Thomas "Young Tommy" D'Alesandro who served a single term as Baltimore mayor, but whose legacy reaches far beyond that.
His youngest sister, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke of his commitment to civil rights back in the 1960s.
"When he was president of the city council, he was determined to advance civil rights. It was his passion," said Pelosi.
While he carried every precinct when he ran successfully to become the city's 43rd mayor, four months later, riots broke out after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"They call him what? Little Tommy? He wasn't a little person,” said Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (D-2nd District). “He probably had one of the worst times to be a mayor, yet he was the right person there during the riots and pulling people together."
Young Tommy elevated African-Americans to positions in his administration and attacked discriminatory housing practices despite criticism from those who weren't ready for change.
"He opened up door that wouldn't otherwise have been opened,” said Baltimore Mayor Jack Young. “Tommy was a great mayor. I got to know him very well. After I entered politics, I always called him for advice just like I called Elijah Cummings for advice."
Though his passing at the age of 90 from a stroke has taken him away, young Tommy's contributions to the city he loved live on through his legacy.
"Personally, I will miss him terribly. My confidant. My mentor. My brother, but I will always carry him in my heart," said Pelosi. "Politically, he was the finest public servant that I ever knew without question. Thank you, my brother, for always being Young Tommy and for the love that you always shared."