Between the mid-1960s and the late 1970s, activists organized to seek new resources and opportunities for historically segregated Black neighborhoods in east and west Baltimore. While white city leaders had celebrated the comparatively peaceful desegregation of Baltimore’s public schools in the 1950s, school officials failed to sustain early progress toward integrated schools. The resurgent school segregation was, of course, closely intertwined with persistent housing segregation across the region. Demands by housing and anti-poverty activists saw the creation of new public programs through the War on Poverty initiated by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Such programs served activists as occasional allies but also as targets for criticism and protest—especially after local and federal officials made dramatic cuts to funding for anti-poverty programs in the 1970s and 1980s, undermining the ability of these programs to fulfill community needs.

Despite the Brown v. Board of Education ruling and passage of the Civil Rights Act, Black Americans faced continued resistance in their fight for political equality, economic opportunity, and an end to racial discrimination. The unrest following Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968 and the varied responses by activists, elected officials, and residents in the Baltimore region highlighted the city’s deep political divisions. Some local white residents and elected officials saw the 1968 unrest as an urgent wake-up call and a clear demand for aggressive action to expand opportunities for Black Baltimoreans. Others, such as then Governor Spiro Agnew, appeared to use the unrest as an excuse to advance a reactionary racist agenda.

Among both groups, however, few questioned the public policies around housing, transportation, and land use that continued to favor racial segregation and regional sprawl in the 1960s and 1970s. Many white residents left the city—continuing the pattern of white flight that followed World War II. At the same time, many large industrial and commercial businesses started moving their operations out of the city or out of the region entirely. Baltimore’s population dropped. Between 1970 and 1980, the city lost over 110,000 residents as thousands of white Baltimoreans moved out to the surrounding suburbs. Even after passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, Homes or apartments in the suburbs were still largely unavailable for Black residents.

The local civil rights movement had the benefit of new institutional allies. For example, the Maryland State Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights prepared reports on voting irregularities in Baltimore County in 1970, discriminatory zoning and planning in Baltimore County in 1971, and discrimination in the regional construction industry in 1974. The movement had also inspired the renewal and expansion of social movements seeking recognition and protection for the rights of women, sexual and gender minorities (including people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer), and people with disabilities. While more research is needed to identify the scope of connections between these social movements and local civil rights activism, they all included Black Baltimoreans among their organizers and participants.

Black Power and Anti-poverty Activism in 1960s

In August 1964, Walter P. Carter, a social worker and activist who had served as Baltimore CORE’s board chair between 1961 and 1963 and served as the Maryland state coordinator for the 1963 March on Washington, explained the group’s mission:

We had broken the public accommodations aspect of civil rights down and we knew the real civil rights battles would be fought right there [in neighborhoods] where these people are whipped by everything—housing, unemployment, lack of opportunities, improper schooling.1

Carter’s explanation for CORE’s new direction reflected the agenda for activists in the 1960s. Established and emerging activists looked to the landmark federal civil rights policies enacted in the 1950s and early 1960s as new tools for fighting racial discrimination and inequality in their neighborhoods. The central question for activists was how could they use these new local and federal laws to secure better housing, medical care, education, and better jobs for all Black Baltimoreans?

In 1966, 12 years after the US Supreme Court’s Brown decision, Baltimore’s schools and neighborhoods remained overwhelmingly segregated. Frustrated by the failure of established civil rights organizations to prioritize the interests of working-class Black Baltimoreans and the limited commitment of liberal white elected officials, young activists began to try new more radical approaches. This trend took place both in Baltimore and in cities around the country with examples including the founding of Mother Rescuers, one of the earliest anti-poverty activist organizations in Baltimore, in June 1966, and the founding of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California, in October 1966.

The Civic Interest Group (CIG) originated in the 1950s as an interracial student activist group that campaigned to end segregated restaurants in Baltimore and along Maryland’s portion of US Route 40. In the mid-1960s, under the leadership of a new director, 24-year-old Vernon “Tim” Conaway, CIG developed into a more radical group that sought to influence local politics through voter registration, candidate endorsements, and grassroots organizing. At a July 1966 press conference at St. Peter Claver Church at 1526 N. Fremont Avenue, Vernon—along with his brother Irvin, who served as CIG program chairman, and James Prettyman, the CIG chairman—embraced the concept of “black power” and cited the example of the recent election of a Black mayor in Cleveland as a model for Baltimore.2

While west Baltimore remained an important area of organizing, east Baltimore emerged as a new center of activity in the 1960s. After working as the Philadelphia director for the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Walter Lively moved to Baltimore to open the Gay Street office for Union for Jobs or Income Now (U-JOIN). U-JOIN was a new initiative sponsored by the local chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society’s Economic Research and Action Project (SDS-ERAP). Baltimore was one of 10 cities where SDS-ERAP hoped to expose the “clear failures of the liberal welfare state” and “fight for a bare standard of living in the most affluent society in the world.” Historian Rhonda Williams explains how SDS-ERAP sought to build an interracial movement by “galvanizing poor people at the grass roots around issues such as housing, schools, medical care, and food insecurity.”3 Lively’s office at 1061 N. Gay Street focused on organizing low-income Black Baltimoreans and building alliances with local Black freedom organizations. Given the difficulty of interracial organizing in the city’s segregated neighborhoods, the group also opened a second office on east Baltimore Street to organize white residents.4 Baltimore CORE opened their own office in east Baltimore in 1966 at 800 N. Gay Street. The office housed staff for their new Eastside Project, which focused on housing and poverty in the surrounding area.

Among U-JOIN’s new partners was Mother Rescuers, an anti-poverty activist organization that formed in June 1966 after holding their initial meetings at the U-JOIN Gay Street office.5 In July 1966, the Afro-American newspaper remarked that Mother Rescuers symbolized “the new mood creeping slowly through the Black ghetto of Baltimore like sunlight at an early dawn—a mood that demands rights and respect and a chance for a decent life as the natural birthright of all.”6 Together with labor organizer Bob Moore, Walter Lively also helped open a local chapter of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and founded Liberation Press. The two groups shared a three-story rowhouse at 432 E. North Avenue as an office.7

Civil rights activists, however, were frustrated in the late 1960s by the renewed efforts of reactionary white elected officials who actively undermined their efforts—notably including Spiro Agnew, who was elected governor in 1967; Dale Anderson, who replaced Agnew as Baltimore County Executive; and Richard Nixon, who took office as president in 1969 with Agnew as his vice-president. These elected officials and others with similar policies had a broad base of support among white Marylanders. Hundreds of white residents attended segregationist rallies organized by the National States’ Rights Party in Patterson Park and Riverside Park in 1966. That same year, candidate George P. Mahoney won an upset victory in the Democratic primary for Governor winning around 30% of the vote. Mahoney’s campaign slogan—“Your home is your castle; protect it” —directly appealed to white voters who shared his racist opposition to open housing.8

By February 1968, a few months after an unsuccessful run for the Baltimore City Council during the fall election, Walter Lively delivered a speech warning “white decision makers” that they must “give colored citizens a stake in what America is before ghetto dwellers could see a chance to accomplish their goals without violence.”9 The prescience of Lively’s remarks was soon apparent. In April 1968, over a week of unrest following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. rocked the city, damaging buildings in shopping districts along North Avenue, Gay Street, and Pennsylvania Avenue. The widely divergent responses of white and Black residents, activists, and elected officials to the 1968 unrest illustrate the challenges faced by new grassroots efforts to seek Black political and economic power.

Unrest After the 1968 Assassination of Martin Luther King

On the evening of Thursday, April 4, national civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. On Friday, April 5, Baltimore remained quiet even as unrest broke out in Detroit and Washington, DC. At a morning press conference, Walter Lively, then head of both U-JOIN and the Baltimore Urban Coalition, called for a one-day “general strike,” explaining: “We’re asking black folks to withdraw, at least for one day from the process of business as usual.” An integrated group of over three 300 students at Northwestern High School, located at Fallstaff Road and Park Heights Avenue, spent 25 minutes in “silent prayer and meditation” in a darkened school auditorium. The student organizers had placed an empty chair, a symbol of King’s absence, on the auditorium stage illuminated by a single spot light.10

Fifteen hundred workers at the Social Security Administration outside the city in Woodlawn came together for a mid-afternoon memorial service. At 5 p.m. that evening, members of Baltimore’s Baptist Ministers Conference held a memorial service at Lafayette Square and the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance announced plans for a memorial service on Saturday afternoon at Metropolitan Methodist Church at Carrollton Avenue and Lanvale Street.11 On the morning of Saturday, April 6, Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro III announced that he was closing city offices and schools on Monday for a citywide day of mourning.12

By the late afternoon on Saturday, however, events took a turn. A growing crowd of people gathered on Gay Street where individuals started breaking shop windows in the early evening. Around 6 p.m., looting started at a dry-cleaning business at Gay and Monument Streets. A fire broke out at the Ideal Furniture Company in the 700 block of Gay Street. Within just a few hours, the mayor had imposed a curfew, Governor Spiro Agnew declared a state of emergency, and 6,000 National Guard troops entered into the city.

Unrest spread and, over the next five days, the police and federal troops occupying city neighborhoods clashed with protestors and angry residents. Mass arrests did not stop crowds of young Black men and women from breaking into local businesses on Greenmount Avenue, North Avenue, Whitelock Street, Monument Street and other commercial corridors in historically segregated Black neighborhoods. The events of the week—including protests, looting, and a breakdown in fire protection for many Black neighborhoods—have been described as a civil disturbance, riot, and uprising. Historian Rhonda Williams has noted how the attacks on businesses “revealed poor people’s frustration and fear and their desires to attack exploitation and obtain consumer goods.”13

On Tuesday, April 9, 1968, Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew invited over 100 of Baltimore’s Black community leaders to meet at the State Center Office Building. The modern office, near the Fifth Regiment Armory was developed as part of the Mount Royal Fremont urban renewal area that had displaced hundreds of Black residents a decade earlier. Agnew used the meeting to deliver a one-sided lecture charging local activists with responsibility for the unrest.14 Most of those in attendance walked out, including a large group that gathered at Douglas Memorial Community Church (B-4432) and drafted an “angry rebuttal” observing: “Agnew’s actions are more in keeping with the slave system of a bygone era.” They noted that by separating “good” moderates from “bad” militants (what Agnew’s speech pejoratively labeled the “circuit-riding, Hanoi-visiting type of leader”), the governor sought to divide Black activists. One unidentified minister observed: “He’s forcing us all to become militants.”15

By the time the National Guard troops started leaving the city on Thursday, April 11, police had arrested 5,512 people—nearly all of them black, totaling about one in every 75 Black residents. At the height of the city and state response, 12,000 troops occupied the city (one for every 75 city residents). Six hundred people were injured, 50 police officers among them. The city saw 1,208 major fires and 1,049 damaged businesses. Six people were killed—all of them black.16

Electoral Politics After 1968

Governor Agnew’s patronizing lecture of Black activists after the 1968 unrest ultimately helped win him the nomination as Richard Nixon’s vice-president at the Republican National Convention in August. The move, and Nixon’s election as president that fall, reflected the emerging white reaction to the civil rights movement and reinforced the Republican party’s “Southern strategy.” The Republican party increasingly sought the support of conservative white voters opposed to incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson and the Democratic Party’s support for civil rights.17 Following Nixon’s landslide reelection in 1972, his administration made sharp cuts to funding for urban areas and War on Poverty programs—cuts that fell heavily on Black Baltimoreans.

At the local and state level, white political leaders were not always explicitly antagonistic to civil rights activists, but apathy or indifference was common. Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro III won office in 1967 as a strong supporter of the civil rights movement but decided not to run for a second term. Marvin Mandel became Governor in 1969 after Agnew’s resignation to serve as Vice President. While Mandel received praise for his appointment of Black judges and personal relationships with Black business leaders (including William Adams, Henry Parks Jr. and Raymond Haysbert of the Park Sausage Company), Mandel showed little interest in supporting the goals of movement activists.18 In 1971, Mayor William Donald Schaefer took office beginning a 16-year run as mayor. In stark contrast to D’Alesandro and McKeldin, however, Schaefer took a largely passive role on civil rights issues during his time in office.

Black political representation at the local and state level grew gradually, but increased representation did not easily translate into major policy changes. Black representation among Baltimore’s 44-member delegation to the Maryland General Assembly grew from nine members in 1969 to 16 members in 1979. Representation on the Baltimore City Council grew marginally from four Black members in 1969 to five in 1979. Despite Black residents making up more than half the city’s population by 1980, they still comprised less than 30% of the council membership.19 Across the country, between 1964 and 1975, the number of Black elected officials grew from 100 to almost 3,000 (135 of them mayors) but the first Black mayor in Baltimore was not elected until 1987 when Kurt Schmoke won the office.20

Given these challenges, interracial coalitions remained an important strategy for local activists. For example, a contested redistricting process in early 1971 led to more opportunities for Black candidates and their political allies.21 By October, anticipating the results of the general election based on the Democratic primary, the Sun observed that the council would be “controlled for the first time by a coalition of liberal whites and Negroes.”22

The Maryland General Assembly and US Congress both saw an influx of new Black members. In 1970, 18 Black state legislators established the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus and, in the following year, opened a year-round office in Annapolis.23 Charles Blount, a former principal at Dunbar High School, joined Baltimore’s Community Action Commission in 1968 and then won election to the Maryland State Senate in 1971. On January 3, 1971, Baltimore activist and educator Parren Mitchell took office as the first Black member of the US Congress from a Southern state since the end of reconstruction. Mitchell (younger brother to NAACP lobbyist Clarence M. Mitchell Jr.) had years of experience advocating for civil rights within and outside of government. From 1963 to 1965, he was executive secretary of the Maryland Human Relations Commission, overseeing implementation of the state’s public accommodations law. He then became director of the Baltimore Community Action Agency, an anti-poverty program, from 1965 to 1968, when he resigned and returned to Morgan State College as a professor of sociology and assistant director of its Urban Affairs Institute. In 1969 and 1970, he served as president of Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc. After his election to the US House of Representatives in 1970, Mitchell helped found the Congressional Black Caucus in March 1971. He won reelection for six more terms, continuing in office through 1987.24

Mitchell’s leadership was evidently received with suspicion by some in Baltimore. Between 1968 and 1974, the Baltimore Police Department Inspectional Services Division (ISD) kept the homes of Parren Mitchell and other African American politicians and activists under surveillance, illegally bugged home and office telephones, and placed paid informers in congressional campaigns. Beginning in 1971, Parren Mitchell began calling for the resignation of Baltimore Police Commissioner Donald Pomerleau. When the ISD surveillance program and the unit’s close ties to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were revealed, Congressman Mitchell extended his criticism to the ISD. Despite his disregard for the civil liberties of activists and Black Baltimoreans, which was well documented after a Maryland State Senate investigation in 1976 revealed the scope of the 10-year-old ISD spying operation, Pomerleau kept the staunch support of Mayor Schaefer and Governor Mandel.25

Civil Rights Organizing after 1968

The NAACP was one of many civil rights organizations that saw major changes after 1968. On December 16, 1969, Enolia McMillan won an upset victory —winning 101 to 77 votes—over Juanita Jackson Mitchell to become president of the Baltimore Branch of the NAACP. Mitchell had sought the same post that her mother, Lillie Carroll Jackson had held for the past 34 years. After her election as president of the NAACP, McMillan sought to engage young “black militants” who were skeptical of the NAACP, explaining, “I’ve been a militant all of my life but I am not extreme.”26 McMillan’s efforts to expand membership were successful, and, by 1972, the chapter had 5,205 members and 828 youth members—about 1,000 more than the year before.27

As older organizations evolved during this period, new organizations were formed. The Black Panther Party was established in 1966 in Oakland, California. Originally known as the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, the organization sought to directly challenge police brutality through armed patrols of Black residents. The organization’s strong stance on second amendment rights for Black Americans caught national attention and drew scrutiny from the FBI. The FBI labelled the Black Panther Party as a communist organization and actively worked to dismantle the party in Oakland and in cities around the country.28

This campaign of surveillance led to an unusual situation for the Black Panther Party in Baltimore. Between the fall of 1968 and the summer of 1969, Warren Hart, a founding member of the Black Panther Party chapter, served as the chapter’s president—while also serving as an active FBI informant. As a consequence, historian Andrew Holter has observed that it is “impossible to disentangle the entire course of the branch’s history, through its dissolution in 1972, from [Hart’s] influence – which is to say, from the influence of the Baltimore field office of the FBI.”29 Despite this unusual circumstance, Paul Coates, a member of the Black Panther Party in Baltimore, was one of many people who saw the influence of the organization in his own life between early 1969 and late 1972:

I thought that the party was doing things that would have an impact on the lives of black people. It seemed like a good vehicle. When I came in, I had only a limited basis for understanding the world. … I just knew it was fucked up. But I had no perspective, no point of view. No process for sorting out the significance of the things I was seeing and experiencing, no process for validating my views against those of other people. In the Party, I began to develop my own system of political understanding. The Party had a structure in place to encourage political education. It provided a setting where I could interact with people who are searching for answers, and with some who thought they knew the answers.30

The Baltimore Branch of the Black Panther Party used a number of different buildings in east Baltimore between the earliest organization of the chapter in 1968 and group’s end in 1972. Over those four years, the group organized classes, community support activities, and protests at dozens of different buildings. The first formal chapter headquarters was a house at 1209 N. Eden Street, and the members began organizing free breakfast and lunch programs at St. Martin de Porres Recreation Hall, located in the former St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church (B-3607).31 By 1970, the headquarters, also referenced as a “Black Community Information Center,” had moved to a rented house at 1248 N. Gay Street.32

The Black Panther Party was not the only example of new approaches to local activism—nor the only example of FBI surveillance. In 1967, a 35-year-old west Baltimore resident named Olugbala, the chosen name of Benjamin McMillan, helped organized the Soul School at 522 N. Fremont Street near the George P. Murphy Homes. The school taught Swahili and African history while organizing around “self-identity, self-determination and self-defense.”33 The local FBI field office also spied on the members of the Soul School.34 More established civil rights organizations were also subject to surveillance. In February 1968, the FBI monitored the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) as the group set up an office at 604 W. Mosher Street to use as a local base of operations for organizers of the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington, DC.

The emergence of these organizations also changed how white allies supported the civil rights movement. For example, the largely white Baltimore Committee for Political Freedom “formed because of fear that the local police were planning to assassinate Black Panther Party leaders” in Baltimore. The Committee’s members included Dr. Peter Rossi, Social Relations Department of Johns Hopkins University; William Zinman, an attorney for the Maryland ACLU; and Rev. Chester Wickwire, a white minister also associated with Johns Hopkins University.35

Other examples of predominantly white spaces for allied organizing included the Peace Action Center at 2525 Maryland Avenue, described by historian Amy E. Zanoni as the center of Baltimore’s antiwar movement. The Center provided office and meeting space, a mimeograph machine, and a paid full-time staff person, Gren Whitman, for the Baltimore Defense Committee and Peace and Freedom News, Baltimore’s first “underground newspaper.” Whitman’s salary was funded by a “progressive peace tax paid by the BDC’s members.”36 Other spaces focused on addressing poverty directly through service delivery, such as Viva House, a group associated with the Catholic Worker Movement, located at 26 S. Mount Street in southwest Baltimore since 1970.37

Growing radicalism among working-class activists sometimes highlighted the internal class divisions within the civil rights movement. In one illustrative example, in November 1968, New York attorney and activist Florynce Kennedy delivered a keynote address for Woman Power’s eleventh annual “Leadership Conference” at the Belvedere Hotel (B-980) in Mount Vernon that discouraged voting for mainstream political party candidates. Lula Jones Garrett reported in the Afro-American that Kennedy’s “audience sat shocked, with stiff shoulders, pursed lips and raised eyebrows as they listened” to her warn “middle-class Negroes” to “watch your tail while trying to climb on the big white ship.”38

Housing and Community Development

The shift of Baltimore’s civil rights movement to focus on community development during this period was not a radical change from the past few decades of activism. After all, affordable housing and public health for African Americans had emerged and remained major concerns for local activists throughout the twentieth century. However, in the late 1960s and into the 1970s, activists saw an influx of financial resources from the city and the federal government to pursue community goals. Others hoped to learn from the failure of past urban renewal programs in the 1950s by giving community residents and community-based organizations more power in the planning and implementation process.

Housing and Grassroots Organizing

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the civil rights movement began to transform how cities approached community and economic development with a new emphasis on democratic participation and empowerment. Support for these new efforts came in part from the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 that established both the Community Action Program and the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program. In Baltimore, Lenwood Ivey was appointed as the director of the new Community Action Agency (CAA) and continued to lead the succeeding Model City Agency (MCA), and the Urban Services Agency (USA). These public agencies worked to meet the needs of Baltimore residents by bringing city services into city neighborhoods through new neighborhood centers. Baltimore historian and archivist Aiden Faust describes the network of 23 neighborhood centers, largely located in east and west Baltimore, writing:

The centers occupied repurposed churches, storefronts, libraries, public baths, or (in the case of Dunbar) associated with an existing public high school. These diverse settings served as multipurpose centers for many programs and classes for children, teens, senior citizens, young mothers, the homeless, and families in crisis. Food pantries, yoga classes, poetry readings, dance performances, legal assistance, home heating assistance, library services, and many more programmatic offerings coexisted in these spaces.39

In addition to these neighborhood centers, Model Cities established six “Community Councils” that developed into “centers of black political activity” prompting concern by members of the Baltimore City Council. Consequently, in 1976, Lenwood Ivey shut down the Community Councils, a controversial decision that was “decidedly unpopular with residents and council staff.”40

In 1972, delegates from 200 local housing and neighborhood advocacy groups came from around the country to meet at Woodbourne Junior High School (later Chinquapin Middle School) at 900 Woodbourne Avenue. Inspired by a recent meeting in Chicago for a national conference on housing, the participants had come to Baltimore to establish National People’s Action (NPA), electing Gale Cincotta, a Chicago activist, as the chairperson of the new organization. Walter S. Brooks, who had served as the national Target City project director for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and later as president of the Northeast Community Organization (NECO) at 4333 York Road, helped organize the Chicago conference and the Baltimore meeting—and was one of the founding members of NPA.

NPA and allied organization fought for national policy changes and new sources of funding that could be used to improve conditions in marginalized neighborhoods. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program was created in 1975 to fund a variety of community development activities, including affordable housing, infrastructure development and anti-poverty programs. This was followed by the Tax Reform Act of 1976, which removed pre-existing deductions for demolition costs and created new tax incentives to promote the preservation of income-producing historic properties.

CDBG funding was a key source of support as grassroots initiatives expanded into more formal organizations during the early- and mid-1970s. Local examples include the Northwest Baltimore Corporation (established in Park Heights in 1971), the Druid Heights Community Development Corporation (originally organized as the Druid Heights Action Association around 1974), and the Southeast Community Development Corporation (established in 1975 as Southeast Development, Inc. (SDI) to serve as the development arm of the Southeast Community Organization (SECO)). Following the example of activist Dorothy Mae Richardson, whose activism led to the formation of the influential Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of Pittsburgh in 1968, residents in Baltimore established a local chapter of NHS in 1974—initially focusing on southeast Baltimore. By 1983, at least 14 neighborhood improvement organizations received funding from the Baltimore Department of Housing and Community Development.41

Churches also played a key role in financing and organizing community development projects. In June 1968, Rev. Walter L. Hildebrand, a new pastor at Bethel A.M.E. Church, affirmed the church’s plans to make the church “of utmost service to the poor, the hopeless and the oppressed.”42 Under the leadership of Rev. Marion Bascom, Douglas Memorial Community Church used church funds to buy and renovate an entire block of rowhouses on the 1300 block of Madison Avenue turning them into new low-income housing.43 Churches also supported the development of new apartment buildings for low-income seniors including St. James Terrace (1960) at 827 N. Arlington Avenue and N. M. Carroll Manor Apartments (1978) at 701 N. Arlington Avenue (designed by Leon Bridges, one of the city’s few Black architects).

In 1977, Rev. Vernon Dobson from Union Baptist Church, Rev. Wendell Phillips of the Heritage United Church of Christ located at 3110 Liberty Heights Avenue, and Msgr. Clare O’Dwyer of St. Matthews Catholic Church at 5401 Loch Raven Boulevard organized a group of 10 churches to form Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD). The group partnered with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a national community-organizing network that began in Chicago in 1940. The IAF established an organizer-training program in 1969, which helped spread the group’s tactics to communities across the country. During BUILD’s first few years, the group focused on “neighborhood issues such as obtaining better police protection, arson controls, improving housing, and rat eradication” and, in 1979, organized a City-Wide Convention drawing around 1,000 delegates from 20 community institutions.44

Mortgage Discrimination and Neighborhood Integration

One particular area of attention from grassroots housing activists during this period was the issue of mortgage discrimination, which was not addressed in the Fair Housing Act of 1968 that only provided protection from discrimination in occupancy and sale of homes, not in the financing. One of the most notable efforts to highlight discriminatory real estate sales practices and mortgage discrimination began in 1969, when a coalition of Black and white civil rights advocates organized The Activists, Inc. The group’s founding leaders included Sampson Green, a local Black attorney and member of the Maryland Human Relations Commission, and John J. Martinez, a white Jesuit teacher at St. Bernadine’s Church near Edmondson Village.

The Activists targeted the Morris Goldseker Company by organizing a weekly picket line outside the real estate firm’s offices at 220 W. Franklin Street in the spring of 1969 to call attention the company’s role as a “blockbuster” that took advantage of both white sellers and Black buyers. In May 1969, the Northwood Civic Forum, an allied housing improvement organization, set up a sign on Marble Hill Road warning potential buyers that the Goldseker Company had listed a nearby house for 72% more than the company had recently paid for it.45 In July, during a meeting in the basement of Third English Lutheran Church at Hillen Road and 30th Street, residents shouted down Morris Goldseker’s nephew Sheldon after he had “banned” television cameras from the hall and demanded that members of The Activists leave the building before he would speak to residents.46

Operating under a variety of names, Goldseker-related realty companies were particularly active in Edmondson Village (B-5109), a rowhouse neighborhood located west of the Gwynns Falls that underwent a rapid racial transition in the 1960s. The Activists described how real estate companies purchased houses for an average of $7,320 and sold them for an average of $12,387. The 69% markup for Black buyers led the group to a clear conclusion: “The dollar in the hands of the white man buys more than the dollar in the hands of the black man.”47

Private banks were also complicit in the persistence of housing discrimination. In the spring of 1975, a federal study found that lenders denied home loans to African American borrowers in Baltimore at twice the rate of white borrowers.48 One of the state’s largest lenders, Maryland National Bank, reportedly “rejected black applicants for home mortgages” at nearly 12 times the rate for white applicants in 1974.49 In reaction to the finding, despite these vigorous protests, the issue of mortgage discrimination continued.

Local fair housing organizations like The Activists and national coalitions like National People’s Action lobbied for new federal policy to address this injustice. In 1974, Congress passed the Equal Credit Opportunity Act making it illegal for any creditor to discriminate against any applicant by race or gender. In 1975, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act required financial institutions to disclose mortgage data to the public in recognition that banks had contributed to the “decline of certain geographic areas” by failing “to provide adequate home financing to qualified applicants on reasonable terms and conditions.” 50 In 1977, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) pushed commercial banks to better serve borrowers in low- and moderate-income communities and reduce discriminatory credit practices. All three laws sought to expand on the 1968 Fair Housing Act and reverse the harms done by decades of financial discrimination against Black depositors and borrowers.

Mortgage discrimination and predatory real estate sales practices were not the only way Black residents experienced the burden of housing discrimination. Historian Richard Rothstein notes the role of tax assessors in “over assessing properties in Black neighborhoods and underassessing them in white ones” to extract excessive taxes from Black property-owners. Rothstein cites a 1973 Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) study of 10 large US cities that documented this pattern of discrimination in Baltimore where the assessment of properties in a Black east Baltimore neighborhood totaled nine times the assessment of the affluent Guilford neighborhood in north Baltimore.51 Rothstein argues, “The higher property taxes paid by African American owners—and through their landlords, by African American renters—contributed to the deterioration of their neighborhoods” as residents were forced to defer maintenance or share costs by taking in boarders or extended family members as tenants. The limited housing options for Black Baltimoreans in a segregated market similarly meant tenants in predominantly Black neighborhoods paid higher rents than a tenant would pay for similar accommodations in predominantly white neighborhoods.52

Urban Renewal, Highways, and Preservation

Urban renewal and highway construction projects continued to transform Baltimore’s Black neighborhoods in the 1970s. While many Black residents were displaced, in some cases community organizations succeeded in advocating for much-needed investments in affordable housing projects and preserving a number of significant historic landmarks associated with Black history. The first few years of urban renewal had inspired a range of new preservation organizations including Baltimore Heritage, established in 1960; the Baltimore Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP), established in 1964; the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT), established in 1966; and the Commission on Negro History and Culture (later renamed the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture (MCAAHC), established in 1969.

In 1972, Mrs. W. A. C. Hughes helped establish the Committee for the Preservation of Orchard Street Church, the oldest existing church built by and for African Americans. After years of uncertainty, the building was ultimately rehabilitated as offices for the Baltimore Urban League in 1992.53 The National Register of Historic Places also offered residents a new way to recognize and protect African American landmarks, including Orchard Street United Methodist Church (B-1401), Public School No. 111 (B-3930) at N. Carrollton Avenue and Riggs Road, Cummins Memorial Church (B-127) at 1210 W. Lanvale Street, and the Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church and Community House (B-2963)—all listed on the National Register of Historic Places between 1975 and 1982. CHAP designated Madison Park as the city’s first historic district occupied largely by African American residents, also in 1977.54

Overall, however, demolition was a more common experience than historic preservation as hundreds of working-class and poor African American residents were displaced by urban renewal, public housing, and transportation projects. Between 1973 and 1977, 971 rowhouses and 62 businesses came down in west Baltimore to make way for the partial construction of the east–west expressway.55 Among the Black community organizations displaced by this project was the Arch Social Club. The club was forced to sell the clubhouse at 676 W. Saratoga Street that the men’s club had occupied since 1922 and moved to the former Schanze Theatre (B-4482) at 2426 Pennsylvania Avenue, near the intersection with North Avenue. Hundreds more houses along Fremont Avenue at the edge of downtown fell for the construction of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard beginning in 1976.56

The Upton neighborhood in central west Baltimore is an example of the complicated legacy of urban renewal and community development in this period. Upton had been a center of Black life in the city with many middle-class residents and a popular shopping district along Pennsylvania Avenue. Segregated residential development and inadequate wages paid to many Black workers led to overcrowding as residents and landlords subdivided formerly single-family homes into multiple units. Under urban renewal, the city sought to mitigate the area’s deteriorating housing conditions through a large-scale program of demolition for new residential developments. Planning for the effort began in late 1967, and, in January 1968, the city organized residents to form the Upton Planning Committee.57 In June 1971, the federal government approved an $18.6 million grant to finance the plan.58 But, in 1973, after demolition had already started, President Nixon established a moratorium on federal funding for urban renewal projects leading to major delays in planned new construction.59 It wasn’t until January 1976, that construction on the Greenwillow Manor housing project at 610 Pennsylvania Avenue began.60

The demolition decimated the southern end of the Pennsylvania Avenue where many clubs and restaurants were located. For example, in 1971, the city tore down the much-beloved Royal Theatre at 1329 Pennsylvania Avenue. One 1986 account recalled the Royal as “the brightest gem along the cultural and business strip that made Pennsylvania Avenue the nucleus of Baltimore’s Black community from the 1920s through the 1960s.” The theater opened in 1922 and hosted performances of nationally known Black performers. Many attributed the theater’s decline to new competition from the integration of white-owned theaters in the 1950s and 1960s and the new Civic Centre (now the Baltimore Arena) in 1962.61 Ultimately, the effort created new housing but displaced hundreds of former residents who were unable to return to the neighborhood.

A few blocks in Upton did avoid the planned clearance. The two-story brick alley dwellings, dating to the late nineteenth century, along the 1100 block of Shields Place were purchased by the city in March 1973 and threatened with demolition under an urban renewal scheme. This block, occupied by tenants and owned by two supportive landlords, was known as a show place and often won the Afro-American’s “clean block” award. Cutbacks in federal funding ultimately led to the city’s decision to rehabilitate 35 single-family buildings and sell them to new owners. The Commercial Credit Corporation, in an early public-private partnership with the city, rehabilitated 10 additional rowhouses. Upton residents were to be given priority for purchase, but the original tenants did not return. Rebecca Stokes, an 18-year resident of the block noted in a 1975 Sun article: “I like the block and the neighbors … but [I] doubt [I] would be able to afford a rehabilitated house.”62

Segregation in Suburban Baltimore County

Baltimore County’s first zoning law in 1949 confined rowhouse and apartment development to eastern Baltimore County in the area of Dundalk and Essex–Middle River—implicitly discouraging the development of housing for Black home-buyers or tenants.63 While serving as county executive in the mid-1960s, Spiro Agnew “ousted” the chairman of the Baltimore County Community Relations Commission after he made public statements supporting open housing. Agnew offered a direct defense of housing segregation:

Open occupancy legislation, the attempted crashing of private membership clubs, unlawful trespassing and unlawful demonstrating, violate the civil rights of others just as clearly as segregation violates the civil rights of the Negro. I take a strong position that it is wrong to tell the owner of a private dwelling place, be it single family or multiple unit, that he must offer it for rent or sale to anyone with whom he does not wish to do business.64

In his popular history of racial segregation in Baltimore, writer Antero Pietila highlighted the major role of the succeeding Baltimore County executive Dale Anderson in promoting segregated residential development between 1966 and 1974. Anderson sought to absolve the county from responsibility for segregation in 1969 remarking: “There are no walls around Baltimore County.”65 In fact, many observers saw a deliberate effort to promote racial segregation through opposition to open housing and policies that displaced existing Black communities.

In 1970, the pattern of racially segregated development in Baltimore County led the Maryland Civil Rights Commission to hold public hearings on the issue at the Social Security Administration headquarters in Woodlawn. The testimony showed how county officials had opposed open housing, discouraged affordable housing development, and displaced the area’s established Black communities.66 In 1972, the Social Security Administration announced an expansion plan that anticipated 2,800 workers, mostly African American, moving to the Woodlawn area. Anderson opposed the plan, commenting, “not one house in that bracket will pay enough taxes to educate one child, and how many of those people coming in here are going to have one child or more?”67

After the Baltimore County Council first approved urban renewal plans for a largely African American area in East Towson (BA-2564) in 1960, voters, following “agitation, coordinated by the extreme right-wing John Birch Society,” defeated the proposals in a 1964 referendum. But even without federal funds, Anderson pursued a major clearance and redevelopment project that included the reconstruction of Fairmount Avenue into a downtown bypass road lined with new public offices. The development, together with the later construction of a high school building, police and fire department headquarters, and Baltimore County jail, displaced much of the East Towson Black community including the East Towson Child Development Center at 102 E. Pennsylvania Avenue. Only a small portion of the original community still stands including the St. James African United Methodist Protestant Church (BA-1000; built 1881, enlarged in 1906, and renovated in 1968) at 415 Jefferson Avenue, and the Carver High School/East Towson Carver Community Center (BA-1075; built in 1939) at 300 Lennox Avenue.68

In the southwestern side of Baltimore County, homes occupied by Black households in Catonsville along the Baltimore National Pike and near the new Baltimore Beltway were torn down to make way for “snack shacks” and 10 new gas stations.69 A 1968 interview with Hannah Lindsey, a long-time Black resident of Catonsville Pines (located immediately next to Route 40 near the Baltimore Beltway), vividly captured her 17-year experience fighting housing policies and zoning changes that harmed Black residents:

You can ride on Route 40 from one end to the other and not find ten service stations in eight tenths of a mile. Except in a Negro area… We’ve lost families out here whose ancestors go back hundreds of years. They give us this—Oh, you don’t want to live on Route 40 anyway, it’s too noisy. We have to live anywhere we can.70

Overall, Baltimore County’s uneven application of zoning changes reportedly “decimated at least twenty old African American settlements throughout the county.”71


A decade after the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, many residents and school officials recognized that the policy of “school choice” had done very little to end racially segregated education in Baltimore. In May 1968, the Supreme Court ruling in Green v. New Kent County found that a free-choice policy was not sufficient if it did not result in integrated schools. In response, George Russell, the first Black lawyer to hold the position of Baltimore City Solicitor, submitted a nine-page opinion to the mayor and school board concluding that Baltimore’s school-choice policy was clearly unconstitutional. Russell noted that 34% of Black students in Baltimore attended all-black schools and were being “deprived of their constitutional right of attending integrated schools.”72 Baltimore City Schools superintendent Thomas D. Sheldon never made any public comment on Russell’s report or the Supreme Court decision. The school board president Francis D. Murnaghan refused to take a position and claimed “indiscriminate integration can do more harm than good.”73 In 1971, William Donald Schaefer’s new administration proved even more reticent to respond, preferring to avoid any mention of school desegregation because “immediately the question of race comes in” to the discussion.74

The Supreme Court again pushed the reluctant administration towards action when the April 1971 Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education endorsed the legality of busing or redrawing school boundaries to desegregated public schools. Just a few months later, in July 1971, Ronald N. Patterson, previously a resident of Seattle, Washington, came to Baltimore to serve as the first Black school superintendent.75 But, when Dr. Patterson and school administrators finally began to develop an official proposal for busing, white residents and elected officials pushed back. In southeast Baltimore, white residents opposed to desegregation organized the Southeast Desegregation Coalition. The coalition was supported by Barbara Mikulski, then a member of the City Council and later a US Senator, who wrote a letter to the editor of the East Baltimore Guide stating bluntly: “I am totally opposed to forced cross-town busing.”76

Finally, in 1975, the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) began enforcement hearings against school districts in Maryland. Diminishing support for integration among elected officials and the school board, however, frustrated negotiations between the city and the federal government. When the OCR moved to cut off federal funding for Baltimore city schools, the city responded and successfully fought the federal action in court. In 1987, the US Department of Education certified that Baltimore had done everything possible and the city’s successful legal action to remove the policies of legal segregation. Most Baltimore classrooms and schools, however, remained largely segregated like the neighborhoods around them.

Criminal Injustice

Police violence continued to be a major concern for local civil rights activists. In 1962, Juanita Jackson Mitchell, acting as counsel for the NAACP, along with representatives from CORE, the Catholic Interracial Council, and Baltimore Fellowship Inc. called on the Governor to establish a “blue-ribbon commission” to address “police bias” similar to the commission established after the 1942 March on Annapolis.77 Some of the issues that activists had protested 20 years earlier had started to change. Black police officers were given opportunities to serve in leadership roles with Dennis P. Mello becoming Baltimore’s first Black police captain and, in 1965, head of the Western Police District.78 By 1966, the police ended policies that limited Black officers to foot patrols and excluded them from service patrolling in white neighborhoods. The department also promoted new efforts to improve “community relations” including opening four “Store Front Operations” beginning in July 1967.79

The long-sought desegregation of the Baltimore Police Department, however, did not yield the immediate benefits proponents had envisioned decades earlier. Moreover, racial discrimination was deeply entrenched in nearly every aspect of the judicial and criminal justice system—not just the police. For example, the city’s court system was demonstrably unfair in the treatment of Black defendants. City judges actively resisted efforts to change white supremacist charging and sentencing practices. On October 1, 1966, the Sun published a board editorial defending Joseph C. Howard Sr., head of the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s trial section, after Howard spoke up in court to call attention to the “double standard of justice” for “rape cases involving white and colored defendants.” The Sun observed how “only colored men who rape white women end up with regularity on death row—and this is no accident,” pointing to recent legal action by the NAACP on discriminatory sentencing and recent reports of racial discrimination in hiring at the Baltimore City courthouse as supporting evidence for Howard’s courtroom criticism.80 Born in Iowa in 1922, Howard had moved to Baltimore to practice law in 1959. Unfortunately, his criticism of the court led other members of the bar to file impropriety charges with the Baltimore Bar Association, charging Howard with violating rules prohibiting criticizing judges. While Howard was ultimately exonerated, he was removed from his appointment with the state’s attorney’s office after a majority of judges on the Baltimore City Supreme Bench refused to approve his reappointment.

In September 1967, the Monumental Bar Association, a group of the city’s Black lawyers, published a report authored by Howard that presented data to expose the “incongruities, inconsistencies and inequities of a judicial system of racial discrimination.”81 In 1968, 81 white men held all but one of the judgeships on Maryland’s appellate and circuit courts.82 Rejecting a state tradition where the Governor appointed judges and voters followed along, Howard ran for a seat on the city’s Supreme Bench without the Governor’s approval and ended up winning by around 8,000 votes.

New sources of federal funding following the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 also played an important role in providing Black residents access to free legal representation. When the city’s Legal Aid Bureau, now known as Maryland Legal Aid, was first established in 1911, providing legal assistance to poor and marginalized residents was seen as charity work. The organization had grown and professionalized since the 1920s, but the creation of the Office of Legal Services within the new federal Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) enabled an even more significant expansion. In 1965, the Legal Aid Bureau proposed opening a number of neighborhood offices, initially establishing offices in east and west Baltimore. In the summer of 1970, Legal Aid added two more offices located in southwest Baltimore and Cherry Hill.83 By 1970, Baltimore Legal Aid’s budget had grown to $800,000 (over half of which was provided by the federal government) and served nearly 22,000 clients. That same year, Legal Aid started the city’s first public defender office with a grant from the Model Cities Agency and funding from the Governor’s Commission on Law Enforcement. There was an initial staff of nine lawyers and nine ex-offenders working as aides. Baltimore Legal Aid continued to operate the public defender program until 1972, when the state of Maryland created the Office of the Public Defender.84

Many residents and civil rights activists saw little improvement in the accountability of police for violence against Black residents. The history of protests at the Western District Police Station at Riggs Avenue and Mount Street help illustrate the persistence of these concerns in the late 1960s and early 1970s. For example, on August 1, 1966, a group of 20 protestors picketed the station after “a Municipal Court judge declined to issue warrants charging two patrolmen with assault.”85 In August 1969, a larger group of 250 people rallied there to “protest the Police Department’s use of dogs and chemical sprays and to demand a civilian police.” The protest was sponsored by the Black United Front, “a coalition of militant and moderate Negro groups” led by activists including Rev. Vernon N. Dobson, president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, and Parren J. Mitchell.86 In 1972, a smaller group of 15 people assembled outside the station to protest an arrest in the 1800 block of Moreland Avenue “claiming the arrest was improper and that the man was beaten by police.”87

Employment, Public Assistance, and Business Development

Black workers organized for improved conditions and better pay in a wide variety of workplaces. For example, Black workers employed by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation organized several protests at the company’s main office in Sparrow’s Point in October 1969 to demand changes to the working conditions in the blast-furnace department. Ivory Dennis, the head of the civil rights committee for Local 2610 of the United Steelworkers (AFL-CIO) explained “workers were protesting a lack of a sufficient number of Negro supervisors, an inadequate incentive pay and the absence of lunch breaks for some of the workers.”88

Local government became a significant employer, and, by 1971, African American workers held 46% of the 41,000 municipal jobs in Baltimore City, including a number of key leadership positions.89 Opportunities for Black executive leadership in local private businesses came more slowly. One early example came in 1968, when Maryland National, Baltimore’s largest bank, made E. Thomas Williams the bank’s first Black manager.90

Public Assistance and Welfare Rights

Public assistance programs were especially critical for the city’s public housing residents. By 1968, this population was 81% Black and more than half of residents received public assistance.91 In the late 1960s, residents at Lafayette Courts and Douglass Homes organized food cooperatives, in what historian Rhonda Williams called “the first in a wave of similar, although often short-lived, ventures” that expanded to include food buying clubs at Perkins Homes, Westport Homes, and Flag House Courts between 1969 and 1970.92 Tenants’ rights groups organized among residents at Fairfield, Lafayette Courts, Murphy Homes, and other areas.93

By late 1969, as the Baltimore Welfare Rights Organization (BWRO) began to grow, Governor Marvin Mandel, then serving out the remainder of Spiro Agnew’s term after Agnew became Vice-President, moved to abolish the State Board of Social Services as part of a broader plan to move state agencies from a board to a secretary system. Historian Rhonda Williams quotes Barbara Stevenson, the only welfare recipient and only woman on the nine-member board, who described the board’s abolition as an “assault on the poor both black and white,” a deliberate strategy “to stop demonstrations and protests,” and as an effort to stymie “rapport built with welfare rights’ organizations and other groups.”94

Williams detailed the group’s extended advocacy campaign from 1966 to 1978 that put the welfare department, housing authority and city officials “on notice” by “calling attention to its commitment to business and revitalization while ignoring or heaping the burden on the backs of poor people.” A “battle cry” issued in 1969 by the NWRO and adopted by local activists clearly articulates their agenda:

We are not willing to sell our rights as American citizens, our rights to dignity, our rights to justice, our rights to democracy, for the food, clothing and shelter which our age, our disability, the absence or death of our family’s breadwinner, our lack of economic opportunity, our society, have made us unable to provide.95

Around 1970, the BWRO opened an office in the rectory of St. Martin’s Catholic Church on N. Fulton Avenue, secured a grant through the Catholic Archdiocese’s Campaign for Human Development, and hired their first paid executive director. By 1971, there were 11 groups affiliated with the NWRO in Baltimore.96

Business Development

Local Black business owners took advantage of new financing opportunities and new markets created through economic development programs in the 1970s. Other black-owned businesses focused on the needs of Black shoppers who had been long ignored by white-owned businesses. For example, a number of local restaurants began to sell “soul food,” including Sampson’s located at 944 W. Fayette Street, the Red Rooster Restaurant and Lounge at 1801 McKean Avenue, and the Yellow Bowl on Greenmount Avenue. Soul food was also a regular offering at many of the approximately 200 storefront churches active in the early 1970s.97

Another notable example is Super Pride—a local grocery store chain established by Charles Thurgood Burns in 1970 when he took over the bankrupt Super Jet Market. Established by a group of Black ministers, Super Jet Market had opened their first store at 2305 E. Chase Street in November 1967 but struggled to make the business work financially. Burns restored the business to profitability within three years—despite encountering food companies that refused to work with a black-owned store. Burns had started in the grocery business around 1921 delivering groceries for the small store his grandfather owned on Dolphin Street. He sold vegetables, produce and fish out of the back of a cart during high school and college. Eventually, Burns became the co-owner of Hilton Court Chain of Ethical Pharmacies—a business that according to Burns’ obituary, “catered to the needs of Black consumers at a time when white-owned businesses ignored them.”98 Between 1970 and 1990, Super Pride grew to seven locations, employing more than 400 people, and making over $43 million in annual sales. Under Burns’ leadership, Super Pride sponsored Black History Month activities and supported the Arena Players, a long-established Black theater company. By the late 1990s, however, the business struggled to compete against national chains and the city’s shrinking population. In the fall of 2000, Super Pride closed all eight of its locations and, in November, held an auction to liquidate the stores and their remaining equipment to satisfy creditors.99

Henry G. Parks Jr. founded Parks Sausage Co. in 1951 in an abandoned dairy, but was frustrated in his attempts to finance growth of the company. Parks noted “it was difficult to borrow. There were rejections, time after time, but the bank officers wouldn’t tell me exactly why.”100 Finally, in 1964, he was able to obtain financing from the Maryland National Bank for a new modern facility in the Camden Industrial Park in south Baltimore. When reflecting on obtaining financing from a bank known to reject mortgages for Black buyers at a high rate, Parks stated, “I think I was sort of a door opener for Black businessmen in this respect.”101 In 1969, the company had its first public stock offering. It was one of the first black-owned companies to go public, and the largest. The company planned to use the new financing to expand production facilities and increase market penetration. Parks and his partners sold their shares in the company in 1977, but Parks remained involved in the company until 1984.102

Private bankers’ reluctance to support Parks’ business expansion reflects the challenges of many black-owned businesses. In December 1974, Samuel T. Daniels, director of the Baltimore Council for Equal Business Opportunity, called attention to the difficulties faced by Baltimore businesses established by Black Baltimoreans.103 Obtaining financing was a struggle for Black business owners, and most had to rely on loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and from the small number of lending institutions established and controlled by Black Baltimoreans. For example, the March Funeral Home, established in 1967 by William C. March and Julia Roberta March on the first floor of their three-story North Avenue rowhouse, used a $15,000 loan from the SBA to purchase the adjoining rowhouse for use as a chapel. A decade later, a second round of financing from the SBA and two black-owned financial institutions, Advance Federal Savings and Loan and Ideal Savings and Loan, supported the construction of a modern new funeral home on the 1100 block of E. North Avenue.104

Congressman Parren Mitchell focused on affirmative action on behalf of “minority firms,” beginning in 1976 when he attached an amendment to a $4 billion Public Works Bill requiring state and local governments to set aside 10% to hire minority firms as contractors. Two years later, Mitchell introduced the legislation that became Public Law 95-507—a major change to the 1958 Small Business Act intended to create new opportunities for small business owned by Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and other groups subject to a history of discrimination. City and state agencies were slow to follow the federal government’s example for affirmative action. In May 1982, Baltimore City Council member Norman V. A. Reeves conducted hearings on the challenges faced by black-owned businesses in Baltimore—especially in securing contracts from Baltimore City.105 It wasn’t until 1986 that Baltimore City passed a law “intended to help minority-owned businesses secure city contracts for goods, services and construction jobs” replacing an earlier set of “minority-participation goals” that had imposed no requirements on city agencies to meet the goals.106

Black Cultural Expression as Activism

Arts and cultural spaces took on a new significance as the civil rights movement led to the integration of historically segregated museums, galleries, libraries, and music venues, as well as to the continued creation of alternate spaces for black activism. One example of these spaces was the New Era Bookstore on the 400 block of Park Avenue, a leftist bookstore associated with the US Communist Party, that offered one of the “best selections of black-related books and magazines in the city.” During the 1960s, the Knights of Ku Klux Klan and the Fighting American Nationalists picketed the bookstore, and, in 1967, opponents broke the building’s windows and attempted to light it on fire with a burning can of gasoline.107

One regular visitor to the New Era Bookstore was noted Black poet Sam Cornish, later Boston’s first poet laureate. In 1966, Cornish began working as the editor of Chicory, a magazine of poetry and art by Baltimore residents, published by the Enoch Pratt Free Library with funding from the federal Office of Economic Opportunity’s Community Action Program. Evelyn Levy, Supervisor of Library Services for the Community Action Program, and Thelma Bell, one of the first Black children’s librarians at Pratt, led the effort which continued to publish up to 10 issues each year until 1983.108

The changes to Pratt library programming are also illustrated by the example of Branch 17, later known as the Pennsylvania Avenue Branch, where, in the summer of 1969, the librarians organized a program on Langston Hughes. According to a library administrative assistant, Lillie Story, the branch saw significantly increased demand for books about “Negro history and culture” after the 1968 unrest.109

Black visual artists also played an important role in promoting Black history and civil rights activism. When Mayor William Donald Schaefer launched the city’s first mural program in September 1973 with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the jury included James Lewis, a professor at Morgan State and founder of the James E. Lewis Museum of Art. One of the 10 murals commissioned by the project was located on the back of the Afro-American newspaper office building at Druid Hill Avenue and Jasper Street showing “a stylized pair of black dancers frozen on a white background.”110

Mural programs are one example of how African American culture and history took on greater visibility in the 1970s. Photograph from Robert Breck Chapman Collection, November 30, 1973. Courtesy University of Baltimore, Langsdale Library, rbmc368_733 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

The Arena Players, an African American theater troupe established in 1953 as an outgrowth of the “The Negro Little Theater,” was another important arts organization. The Arena Players spent a decade performing at varied locations including Coppin State University, the Druid Hill YMCA, the Great Hall Theater of St. Mary’s Church in Walbrook and the Carl J. Murphy Auditorium at Morgan State College, until they secured a long-term performance space at 801 McCulloh Street in 1962. The Arena Players acquired the building in 1969 and through the 1970s it continued to serve “as one of the only venues dedicated to showcasing the works of Black playwrights and performers.”111

In some cases, music and other performing arts were used with the stated intent of building understanding between white and Black Baltimoreans. For example, beginning in 1959, Rev. Chester Wickwire at Johns Hopkins University sought to “change Hopkins, desegregate it” by organizing performances by jazz and rock musicians such as Dave Brubeck, Charles Mingus, Joan Baez, Duke Ellington, Thelonius Monk, and the Mothers of Invention that appealed to interracial audiences. In his efforts to end segregation on the Hopkins campus, Wickwire recalled: “Jazz helped us.”112

Intersections with Other Rights Movements

Both locally and nationally, the civil rights movement provided a powerful example for other movements to protect and expand the rights of women, sexual minorities, people with disabilities, Native Americans, and others. Historian Anne Valk has argued that historians of postwar social movements should pay close attention to the “cross-fertilization of ideas” that took place between various groups.113 Unsurprisingly in Baltimore, later activist movements often borrowed strategies and tactics from the civil rights movement and, in some cases, included overlapping individual participants. While some aspects of these social movements are outside the scope of the period of significance for this study, they are briefly covered to acknowledge the importance of these connections and the possibility of future research exploring the relationships between these varied activist groups.

Feminist Movement

The growth of the feminist movement at a national level brought new opportunities for Black women in Baltimore during this period and focused attention on sexism within the civil rights movement and racism within the feminist movement. The necessity of addressing both racial and gender discrimination was clear to Councilwoman Victorine Q. Adams in her 1971 remarks to students at Morgan State College, where she cited a “white political power structure [that] did not listen to black people” and “black politicians who paid their women no mind” as her inspiration for organizing the Colored Women’s Democratic Club in 1946. Adams and her husband, William Adams, moved to Carlisle Avenue—the first Black residents in Hanlon Park—and turned her residence into the headquarters for many voter registration and get-out-the-vote campaigns in the 1940s and 1950s. In 1964, Adams and Ethel P. Rich founded Woman Power Inc. as a non-partisan group of Black women dedicated to political education, information, action and power.114

The late 1960s and early 1970s saw major changes in state and national policies affecting women. In 1965, Maryland established the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women, which identified recommendations for changes related to education, employment, and community and civic participation for women. In 1968, the state reactivated the group as the Maryland Commission on the Status of Women and began to implement the recommendations.115 On October 13, 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11375 forbidding sex discrimination at businesses working with the government. In 1972, Congress passed Title IX of the 1972 Educational Amendments to the Civil Rights Act. The new policy enforced “sex equality” in education and forced educational institutions to support women’s sports.

At the local level, some of the urgent issues that galvanized the movement were access to contraception, family planning services, and health services for women. The development of Planned Parenthood of Maryland provides an example of how women's healthcare and family planning services responded to newly empowered Black residents in east Baltimore in the 1960s. Originally known as the Bureau for Contraceptive Advice, the organization started in 1927 operating out of a donated rowhouse at 1028 N. Broadway. The clinic, managed by medical director Dr. Bessie Moses and a group of physicians at Johns Hopkins University, provided services to both Black and white married women by offering racially specific clinic sessions on different days of the week. By 1937, the organization opened a second location, known as the Northwest Maternal Health Center, under the supervision of Dr. N. Louise Young, the first Black woman practicing as a physician in Maryland. The clinic was located on the second floor of the pharmacy on Druid Hill Avenue owned by Louise Young's father, Dr. Howard E. Young, who was himself the state’s first Black pharmacist.116

Sometime prior to 1957, Planned Parenthood of Maryland integrated clinic hours. Following a 1962 policy change by the State Board of Public Welfare allowing their staff to refer clients for birth control services, the organization quickly expanded services. The next year, Planned Parenthood's board voted to affirm their support for "equal opportunity" for all people. Black Baltimoreans began to join the group's board including Howard H. Murphy, a former member of the state welfare board who served as the vice-president of Planned Parenthood of Maryland in 1964 and 1965 and, later, as a member of the national board into the 1970s.

In 1965, after the US Supreme Court decision in the case of Griswold v. Connecticut decriminalized contraception, Planned Parenthood partnered with the Baltimore Urban League to create a sex education program for teenagers. In 1967, the city's Community Action Agency opened a new Family Planning Center at 1321 Ashland Avenue and contracted with Planned Parenthood to operate the clinic. One of the first employees at the new center was Violet Hill Whyte, a 30-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department where she had been the city's first Black officer.117 Whyte later served on the Planned Parenthood board along with Maude Harvey, a Black woman who was also the director of the city's Department of Social Services. While the staff of the Ashland Avenue center were mostly Black women, the medical director was a white man, and, in 1969, the community board decided to seek direct control of the clinic's funding and staffing. Despite concerns among white board members over the community's goal of achieving an all-black staff, Planned Parenthood of Maryland supported the move towards independence for the Ashland Avenue clinic and assisted with the transition.118

Changes for women’s healthcare and responses to sexual violence continued in the 1970s. On January 22, 1973, the US Supreme Court struck down many state abortion laws with the court’s Roe v. Wade decision, and Planned Parenthood of Maryland began offering abortion services in 1974. By 1973, the Baltimore Rape Crisis Center began operation at 101 E. 25th Street, and, in 1974, the Baltimore City Council established a special "task force," including Councilmembers Barbara A. Mikulski and Victorine Q. Adams, to study rape in Baltimore.119

White and Black women also organized at the national level. Notably, in 1966 the National Organization for Women (NOW) organized in Washington, DC. The Baltimore NOW chapter was established as early as 1972 and opened an office at 2318 N. Charles Street, where they organized fundraisers and protests in support of the ultimately unsuccessful campaign to add an Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution.120 However, the organization was not seen as representing the interests of all feminists. Consequently, in 1973, the National Black Feminist Organization formed in New York.121

LGBTQ Rights Movement

At the national level, the movement of rights for gay, lesbian, and transgender people, often known as the Gay Liberation Movement, took inspiration from the civil rights movement, using similar tactics of protests, marches, and direct action to call attention to inequality. In Baltimore, the movement for LGBTQ rights initially developed separately with women and lesbians organizing separately from gay men.

One significant example of the connections between feminism and LGBTQ rights is the community surrounding the publication of Women: a Journal of Liberation, which provided “a national forum for opinions and expression vital to the growing women's liberation movement” between 1968 and 1983.122 Other locally significant events in the LGBTQ rights movement included the 1972 founding of Metropolitan Community Church, the oldest LGBT religious organization in the city, the 1974 founding of the Lesbian Community Center, and, in 1975, the first pride rally held at the Washington Monument. While the LGBTQ rights movement in Baltimore was largely white, Black activists, including Louis Hughes Jr., played key roles in organizing the Baltimore Gay Alliance in 1975 and founding the Gay Community Center of Baltimore (GCCB) in 1977.

Disability Rights Movement

While the most significant accomplishments of the national disability rights movement, notably the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, fall outside the scope of this study, they should similarly be regarded as an outgrowth of the earlier history of the civil rights movement. According to the National Council on Disability:

In 1970, Judy Heumann, who used a wheelchair because of polio, founded Disabled in Action (DIA). …Heumann and others felt that existing organizations were not sufficiently politically active: DIA would thus be overtly and exclusively political. It “was made up of young disabled dreamers who believed that fighting for their rights was their obligation,” said Heumann. Two more DIA organizations soon formed in Philadelphia and Baltimore. They were all cross-disability in focus and engaged such issues as transportation, architectural accessibility, television telethons, sheltered workshops, and institutionalization.123

In 1977, Maryland established the state’s Office for the Coordination of Services to the Handicapped, now known as the Department of Disabilities, and at the national level, the National Council on Disability was established in 1978.

Native and Latino Rights Movements

The Native rights movement, locally represented by activists in the Lumbee community, had a more limited intersection with other local civil rights movements but also developed around this same time. For example, the Baltimore American Indian Center was established in 1968. The Latino population of Baltimore remained proportionally small through the 1980s and 1990s limiting the impact of any local organizing efforts.124

  1. Ibid., 158. 

  2. “Black Power Idea Backed: Civic Interest Group Plans Voter Registration Drive,” The Sun, July 1966, C5. 

  3. Amy E. Zanoni, “‘Working on Many Levels’: A History of Second-Wave Feminism in Baltimore” (Master’s thesis, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2013), 55. 

  4. Lively’s office at 1061 N. Gay Street was later demolished as part of the urban renewal plan for the Gay Street area bounded by Biddle Street, Broadway, Monument Street, and Eden Street. 

  5. Rhonda Y. Williams, The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women’s Struggles Against Urban Inequality (Oxford University Press, 2004), 201. 

  6. Ibid., 194. 

  7. Ibid., 157–58. 

  8. Richard Hardesty, “‘A Veil of Voodoo’: George P. Mahoney, Open Housing, and the 1966 Governor’s Race,” Maryland Historical Magazine 104, no. 2 (Summer 2009), 145–83. 

  9. Williams, The Politics of Public Housing, 198. 

  10. Stephen J. Lynton, “Baltimore Sad but Peaceful as Negro and White Mourn,” The Sun, April 1968, B22 

  11. Ibid.; David L. Maulsby, “Many on Street Unwilling to Discuss King Tragedy,” The Sun, April 1968, B9. 

  12. Robert A. Erlandson, “City to Mark Monday as Day of Mourning for Dr. King; Schools, Offices Will Close,” The Sun, April 1968. 

  13. Williams, The Politics of Public Housing, 198. 

  14. “Governor Agnew’s Speech to Baltimore’s Black Community Leadership on April 11, 1968,” The Baltimore Sun, April 1968; Rev. Henry J. Offer, “Analysis and Evaluation of the Speech by Governor Agnew to the so-Called Moderate Civil Rights Leaders on Thursday, April 11th, as I Would See It from the Viewpoint of These Black Leaders,” April 1968, 

  15. Howard S. Baum, Brown in Baltimore (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011), 160. 

  16. Ibid., 160. 

  17. Justin Peter Coffey, “Spiro Agnew and the Suburbanization of American Politics, 1918–1968” (PhD diss., University of Illinois at Chicago, 2003). 

  18. Alexander Williams Jr., “Mandel’s Civil Rights Legacy,” The Baltimore Sun, September 2015. 

  19. Antero Pietila, “The Afro-Baltimoreans–I: Black Community’s Power Is on the Rise, but Some Traditions Are Being Challenged,” The Sun, March 1979. 

  20. Williams, The Politics of Public Housing, 233. 

  21. G. Jefferson Price 3rd, “Bard Plan Has 3 Black Districts: It Would Retain Negro Majorities in Fifth, Fourth, Second,” The Sun, February 1971; G. Jefferson Price 3rd and Barry Rascovar, “Negro Vote Is Held Into 2 Districts: Council Plan Is Said to Have Votes Needed for Passage,” The Sun, March 1971; G. Jefferson Price 3rd, “Districting Plan Signed by Mayor: Black Representation Is Expected to Double in City Hall,” The Sun, April 1971. 

  22. “Negro-White Liberal Coalition Held Likely to Win Council Control,” The Sun, October 1971. 

  23. Barry C. Rascovar, “Negro Lawmakers to Open Office,” The Sun, January 1972, C18. 

  24. See the Baltimore Heritage profile]( of Parren Mitchell and his Madison Avenue residence for more information, 

  25. Michael Olesker, “Pomerleau Took Ill-Gotten Secrets to the Grave,” The Baltimore Sun, January 1992. 

  26. Kelly Brewington and Nicole Fuller, “Enolia P. McMillan,” The Baltimore Sun, October 2006. 

  27. Lee Sartain, Borders of Equality, 170. 

  28. Garrett Albert Duncan, “Black Panther Party,” Encyclopaedia Brittanica,](, accessed on September 26, 2018. 

  29. Holter, “The Vanguard Is Never Caught Napping,” 60. 

  30. Harold McDougall, Black Baltimore: A New Theory of Community (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 1993), 59. 

  31. This building was occupied in 2017 by Sweet Prospect Baptist Church. 

  32. Holter, “The Vanguard Is Never Caught Napping,” 42, 59, 128; Steve McCutchen, “Black Panther Party - Baltimore, Maryland Branch - 1968–1972” (Black Panther Party Legacy & Alumni, 2004). 

  33. James D. Dilts, “Thirteen Baltimore Black Leaders,” The Sun, September 1970. 

  34. Andrew Holter, “The Vanguard Is Never Caught Napping: Informants and Police Inside the Black Panther Party in Baltimore, 1968–1972” (Master’s thesis, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2017), 36, 51–52; Marshall Eddie Conway, Marshall Law: The Life & Times of a Baltimore Black Panther (Chico, CA: AK Press, 2011). 

  35. McDougall, Black Baltimore, 58. 

  36. Zanoni, “"Working on Many Levels,” 34, 69. 

  37. Brendan Walsh and Willa Bickham, The Long Loneliness in Baltimore: Stories Along the Way (Baltimore, MD: Apprentice House, 2016). 

  38. “At Woman Power’s Annual Leadership Conference Luncheon: Gadabording in Militant Lady Lawyer Gets Cool Shoulder in Baltimore Lula Jones Garreth,” Afro-American, November 1968, 9–10. 

  39. Aiden James Faust, “Neighborhood Matters: What Baltimore Learned from the War on Poverty” (Master’s thesis, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2015), 55–56. 

  40. Ibid., 58. 

  41. Jessie Lyons, “71-Year-Old Leads Determined Residents in Flourishing of Neglected Druid Heights,” The Sun, September 1983, 32. 

  42. Elizabeth Oliver, “New Pastor Hopes Bethel Will Continue Service in Inner City,” Afro-American, June 1968, 32–33. 

  43. David Milobsky, “Power from the Pulpit: Baltimore’s African-American Clergy, 1950–1970,” Maryland Historical Magazine 89 (Fall 1994), 285. 

  44. “About BUILD,” BUILD Baltimore (, 2018). 

  45. Stephen J. Lyston, “Activists, Inc., Prods Realty Firm: Demands M. Goldseker Stay ‘Exploitation’ In Negro Dealings,” The Sun, May 10, 1969. The Goldseker Company reportedly purchased the property for $7,300 but listed the property for sale at $13,000 10 months later. 

  46. “Shouting Prevents Goldseker Talk,” The Sun, July 10, 1969. 

  47. W. Edward Orser, Blockbusting in Baltimore: The Edmondson Village Story (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1994), 134–35. 

  48. Nancy J. Schwerzler, “Reaction Divided on Study Showing Baltimore Loan Bias,” The Sun, May 1975, C4. 

  49. Thomas B. Edsall, “Blacks Find Mortgages Harder to Get,” The Sun, June 1975. 

  50. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, “Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975,” 12 U.S.C. 2801, 

  51. Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, 1st edition (New York: Liveright, 2017), 170–71. Guilford (B-3654) was developed in the early twentieth century by the Roland Park Company for affluent white families. 

  52. Ibid., 172. 

  53. “Historic Registration to Be Sought for Oldest Black Church in City,” The Sun, December 1972, A18; “An Old Church,” The Sun, March 1973, A14; Antero Pietila, “Black State History: Plan for Museum Gains,” The Sun, March 1974, A8; Earl Arnett, “Church ‘Slave’ Tunnel Reopens,” The Sun, July 1976. 

  54. In the 1970s, CHAP designated several local landmarks associated with African American history in Baltimore including Bethel A.M.E. Church (1300 Druid Hill Avenue) and Ebenezer A.M.E. Church (18 W. Montgomery Street) in 1971 and Sharon Baptist Church (1373 N. Stricker Street) and First Baptist Church (525 N. Caroline Street) in 1977. 

  55. James D. Dilts, “3-A Road Deadline Looming: U.S. Aide Says City Must Start or Return Cash,” The Sun, January 1973. 

  56. James D. Dilts, “Residents Face Fact of Boulevard,” The Sun, November 1975, C16. 

  57. “3.2 Million Spent so Far on Upton,” The Sun, March 1973, A15. 

  58. John B. O’Donnell, “U.S. Clears $18.6 Million for Upton Plan,” The Sun, June 1971. 

  59. McDougall, Black Baltimore, 56; DeWayne Wickham, “Glory of ‘the Avenue’ Lies in Rubble, Awaiting Delayed Revitalization in Upton,” The Sun, December 1975. 

  60. “After 7 Years of Delays, Setbacks, Greenwillow Manor Project About to Begin,” The Sun, January 1976, C3. 

  61. Mike Giuliano, “The Royal Theatre in Review,” The Sun, August 1986, 1–2. 

  62. James D. Dilts, “10 Houses Set up for Renewal,” The Sun, January 6, 1975, C16; Nancy J. Schwerzler, “City Acts to Save 102 Units: Panel Changes Plans for Redevelopment,” The Sun, January 24, 1975, C1; “Irreplaceable Shields Place,” The Sun, January 9, 1975, A18; “Commercial Credit Renews Row Houses,” The Sun, May 4, 1975, F1. 

  63. Antero Pietila, Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City (Chicago, IL: Ivan R. Dee, Rowman & Littlefield, 2010), 226. 

  64. Pietila, Not in My Neighborhood, 228–229. 

  65. Pietila, Not in My Neighborhood, 209. 

  66. Ibid., 234; Maryland State Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights, “The Zoning and Planning Process in Baltimore County and Its Effect on Minority Group Residents” (Maryland State Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights, March 1971), University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, Thurgood Marshall Law Library,

  67. Ibid., 234. 

  68. E.H.T. Traceries, “Carver High School,” Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties Form BA-1075, (Crownsville, MD: Maryland Historical Trust, November 20, 2001). 

  69. Ibid., 229–31. 

  70. James D. Dilts, “The Changing City: Living Anywhere They Can,” The Sun, June 1968, FE3. 

  71. Pietila, Not in My Neighborhood, 231. 

  72. Baum, Brown in Baltimore, 140. 

  73. Ibid., 140. 

  74. Ibid., 162. 

  75. Sartain, Borders of Equality, 171. 

  76. Baum, Brown in Baltimore, 164. 

  77. James S. Keat, “Commission on Police Bias is Demanded: N.A.A.C.P. Aide Seeks Governor’s Group Like ‘42 Unit,” The Sun, September 1962; Maryland State Archives, “Maryland Commission on Civil Rights: Origins & Functions,” Maryland Manual On-Line, accessed October 31, 2018,

  78. “A Negro Captain,” The Sun, October 1965; “Police Reassign Man Who Headed Western District,” The Sun, June 1973. 

  79. “Baltimore City Police History,”, accessed November 3, 2018. 

  80. “Rape Case ‘Justice’,” Afro-American, October 1966, 5. 

  81. David Sloan, “Dual Rape Justice Proved by Study,” Afro-American, September 1967, 1–2. 

  82. Michael A. Millemann, “A Fighter for Democracy,” The Baltimore Sun, October 2000. 

  83. Gerald A. Fitzgerald, “Veto to End on Legal Aid: U.S. Agency Curbs City Bar Authority in Program,” The Sun, October 1970, C9. 

  84. Maryland Legal Aid, “Brief History,” Maryland Legal Aid (, 2014); “Public Defender,” The Sun, September 1970, A16. 

  85. “Police, Judge Draw Pickets: Negroes Walk at Station When Refused Warrants,” The Sun, August 1966, C5. 

  86. Stephen J. Lynton, “250 Hold Rally at Western District Station: Protest K-9’s, Mace; Urge Civilian Police Review Board,” The Sun, August 1969, C6. 

  87. “Man’s Arrest Protested by 15 Persons Outside Western District Station,” The Sun, June 1972. 

  88. “Negro Steelworkers Stage Protest,” The Sun, October 1969. 

  89. Sartain, Borders of Equality, 171–72. 

  90. Carleton Jones, “The Black Elite in Baltimore: Gains in Power. . . And Some of the Headaches of Whitedom; A Big Hole in the Black Social Structure Is Business Some Leaders Who Project the Black Image,” The Sun, October 1976. 

  91. Williams, The Politics of Public Housing, 194. 

  92. Ibid., 198–99. 

  93. Rhonda Yvette Williams, “Living Just Enough in the City: Change and Activism in Baltimore’s Public Housing, 1940–1980” (PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1998), 17. 

  94. Ibid., 288–89. 

  95. Ibid., 305-305. 

  96. Williams, The Politics of Public Housing, 216–19. 

  97. Antero Pietila, “Storefront Churches: from 200 Wayside Temples the Hallelujahs Rise,” The Sun, December 1973, C10. 

  98. Lynda Robinson, “Charles T. Burns Dies Founder of Super Pride,” The Baltimore Sun, April 1991. 

  99. Gus G. Sentementes, “Super Pride Reaches the End: Fixtures, Equipment of Failed Chain Being Auctioned Monday,” The Baltimore Sun, November 2000. 

  100. Lawrence Freeny and Keith Meyers, “For Henry Parks...More Than Sausages, “New York Times, April 10, 1977, F3 

  101. Ibid. 

  102. Freeny and Meyers, “For Henry Parks,” F3; “Negro-Owned Sausage Concern Finds Public Likes Its Stock, Too: Offering of H.G. Parks Inc. Oversubscribed and Shares Quickly Rise to Premium,” Wall Street Journal, January 1969, 27. Parks served as a member of the Baltimore City Council from 1963 to 1969. He was a long-time resident of Reservoir Street until his 1977 move to Bolton Hill. 

  103. Weldon Wallace, “400 Black Businesses Pinched by Hard Times,” The Sun, December 1974. 

  104. Michael Fletcher, “It’s Gotten Easier for Black Business: Acceptance, Money Have Come in 20 Years,” The Sun, February 1988, H5. 

  105. Will Englund, “Black Businessmen Contend City ‘Old-Boy’ Network Hurts,” The Sun, May 1982, B4. 

  106. Sam Fulwood, “Black Businesses Expect Support of Black Mayor,” The Sun, April 1987, 1–2. 

  107. “New Era Closes Shop,” The Baltimore Sun, May 1994. 

  108. The library’s Urban Services Program at 31 S. Payson Street was later listed as the offices of the magazine. 

  109. Earl Arnett, “An ‘Evening with Langston Hughes’ Draws Teens to Area Library,” The Sun, August 1969, B1. 

  110. Gil Watson, “Wheeling: A Bike Tour of Downtown,” The Sun, November 3, 1974. 

  111. Arena Players, Incorporated, “History | Arena Players, Inc.”]( 

  112. Rev. Chester Wickwire, “Rev. Chester Wickwire ‘68: Riots and Rebirth,” December 2006, 8–9. 

  113. Anne M. Valk, Radical Sisters: Second-Wave Feminism and Black Liberation in Washington (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2008), 5. 

  114. “People, Places and Things,” Afro-American, January 1971, 5; Courtney C. Hobson, “William ‘Little Willie’ and Victorine Q. Adams Residence,” Explore Baltimore Heritage, August 29, 2017,; Ida E. Jones, “Victorine Quille Adams Papers Collection,” Beulah M. Davis Special Collections, Morgan State University,,Victorine%20Q.pdf 

  115. Maryland State Archives, “Maryland Department of Human Services: Functions,” Maryland Manual On-Line, 2017,

  116. Louise Young’s mother was noted suffragist Estelle Young. 

  117. “Ex-Officer Joins Birth Curb Office,” The Sun, December 14, 1967. 

  118. Planned Parenthood in Maryland: A Vital Community Resource, Lipitz Lecture, 2018,; Gabrielle Wise, “Spirit Of Strength And Understanding: Planned Parenthood Association Plans Honor For Mrs. Anne G. Huppman,” The Sun, May 20, 1969. 

  119. “Rape Crisis Center Offers Help on Hotline,” The Sun, July 16, 1973; J. S. Bainbridge, “Rape Task Force Formed,” The Sun, February 6, 1974. 

  120. “Baltimore NOW Unit to Join ERA March,” The Sun, August 26, 1976. 

  121. Pauli Murray, one of the leading Black feminists in the US during this period and a key founder of the National Black Feminist Organization, was born in Baltimore in 1910 but her family brought her to Durham, North Carolina, in 1913 where she grew up. 

  122. This early and long-running national feminist publication had around 25,000 subscribers at its’ height and served as an influential forum for lesbian and feminist writing. Records for Women: a Journal of Liberation are available through the Five College Archives & Manuscript Collections](, 

  123. National Council on Disability, Equality of Opportunity: The Making of the Americans with Disabilities Act, ERIC ED512697 (Washington, DC: National Council on Disability, 1997), 22. 

  124. See Wikipedia on the History of the Hispanics and Latinos in Baltimore](