Yesterday, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke hailed a new retirement community for the deaf as a monument to all that is good about Baltimore. Monday night, he stood at a crowded West Baltimore corner and saw all that is bad.
A pack of cigarettes.On a ride-along with police, the city's chief executive sped to three shootings and at one point stood over a wounded young man lying face down on a street with four bullets in his back.
"A friend of his comes along and looks down," Schmoke recalled yesterday. "And he doesn't say to the police or to me, 'How's he doing?' He says, 'What are you all going to do with that boy's cigarettes?' That is showing no regard for human life."
|Civilization went up in smoke quickly in Baltimore...|
But it's a city where "Stop the Tears" and "Stop the Violence" programs have been initiated to counter acts of spontaneous blackness and ultimately failed. Completely. [Children's tears point up our failures, Baltimore Sun, 1-18-1997]:
The marchers were called together by the Rev. Willie Ray of the "Stop the Killing" campaign. Joining him were the Rev. Arnold Howard of Enon Baptist Church and the Rev. Dr. John Wright of the First Church of Guilford in Howard County. Only two city officeholders -- Comptroller Joan M. Pratt and 6th District Councilman Melvin L. Stukes -- attended the march and vigil.
It's a sobering thought. Black children being cut down in the city, and only five black religious and political leaders find the time to come to a march and vigil to make some kind of statement about the grisly situation. There is a crisis here, one city leadership needs to address.Even though the population is dropping by huge percentage points each year, a need to mark the melancholy reality of crime, murder, and mayhem each year with a vigil is scheduled on the calendar. It's axiomatic murder will happen to such a degree a New Year's Eve vigil will be required each year...[Baltimore's 2012 homicide victims remembered at New Year's Eve vigil: Mayor, police commissioner join activists to remember 216 slain men, women and children, Baltimore Sun, 12-31-12]:
For minutes on end New Year's Eve night, the names and ages of 216 men, women and children who were killed in Baltimore in 2012 were read out loud on the steps of the city's War Memorial — a somber recap of a violent year in which homicides rose. "In a city where so many people are immune to these senseless crimes, it is imperative that we remember the victims," said Victoria Kent, a member of the Baltimore Guardian Angels community watch group, as about 50 others stood by.
The vigil, in its fourth year, was attended by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts, City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young, council members Brandon Scott and Carl Stokes, members of the clergy and various city activists.
Many among the crowd spoke to the need for communities to come together and provide those involved in the cycle of violence — many of them young men, many African-American — better outlets.
"Too many people in our city have lost respect for human life, and too many of us have stood by and watched," Rawlings-Blake said. "We have to have that voice and say that we deserve, that every child and family in the city deserves, more."Every child and family in the city does deserve more, and it's important to remember that more than 100 years ago, the actual sons and daughters of those who built Baltimore were faced with a quandary far greater than that of the British burning the city during the War of 1812: the great migration of blacks from the south.
All of the aforementioned maladies that have befallen the city of Baltimore were considered by the white majority of the city back in 1910. In The Baltimore Rowhouse by Marry Ellen Hayward and Charles Belfoure, we learn that our ancestors were much more far-sighted to the deleterious effect of blacks on social capital than our short-sighted policy of just trying to run-away from the problem today:
As the black population in Baltimore increased from 54,000 in 1880 to 85,000 in 1910, many blacks tried to move out of crowded enclaves. Speculative builders, Gallagher included, felt threatened by this and feared the effect upon sales and prices. In 1909 the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a case involving a restrictive covenant barring the sale of property to a black. The following year the city council passed a segregation ordinance, in response to a black family's purchase of a house on McCulloh Street, on black closer to the city's most fashionable neighborhood, Eutaw Place, than blacks had formerly been allowed to live. In essence the law said that no "Negro" could move onto a block in which more than half the residents were white and that no white could move into a block that was more than half black. A developer could not open a street without first declaring whether it was for white or black occupants.
Builders of houses on "white" blocks were quick to cite "the safety" of their neighborhoods in advertisements. "Walbrook, 3000 block W. North Ave.," ran one ad of 1907, "Attractive Section, No Saloons, No Colored. Up-To-Date Three-Story Houses, Every Convenience." L. Irving German asked readers of the Sun to: "Look at these fine two-story houses recently built in the 2000 block West Fayette Street, and see us at once about terms. We can make them very attractive to reliable men of character with small means. They are well built, contain six rooms, bath and pantry, are beautifully finished. Have sanitary plumbing, attractive wall paper and all conveniences. The NEIGHBORHOOD IS EXCELLENT, And no Negroes are in the immediate vicinity." (p. 125-126)A pack of cigarettes.
"Stop the Violence" programs.
"Stop the Tears" programs.
Only one hundred after the city council of Baltimore passed laws attempting to maintain some semblance of residential integrity in the city, 2009 and 2010 saw the city boast America's most violent, blood-soaked streets.
And it was all because of blacks.
Just like that ad from the 1907 Baltimore, "men of character" help make a neighborhood, community, or city.
Men without character?
They make 2014 Baltimore, which those white citizens of Baltimore 100 years ago (remember, the city was roughly 86 percent white then) did their best to keep from happening.
They must attend "Stop the Violence" rallies and carry candles at vigils on New Year's Eve, for they (and only they) help to create a world where "Stop the Tears" programs are needed.
Got a cigarette?