Day 356 Then and Now

November 30, 2015

(If we live with an open and grateful attitude, every day will bring a gift. This is one of 365 gifts during the year I turned 70.)

Charles and Fayette Streets, 2015. The word democracy appears on the marquee on the left.

Charles and Fayette Streets, 1954. Baltimore Gas and Electric archives on the Baltimore Museum of Industry's site.

I grew up in Baltimore City, lived in a segregated neighborhood and went to a segregated elementary school. After the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision, I went to integrated Woodbourne Junior High and Eastern High. At Frostburg State College, I was selected to participate in a special seminar/research class. Work on my self-chosen research paper in 1964, An Abuse of American Justice, introduced me to CORE and SNCC. Before the introduction of personal computers and the Internet, I had to type my final paper. This was ten years after school integration and there were only two black students at Frostburg, and both played on the college football team. I began attending a hidden black church in Frostburg and sometimes played the piano during services.

Today, prompted by a Baltimore Museum of Industry photo contest, Then and Now, David and I drove around Baltimore to compare city scenes now with photos from years ago. I took several photos today but earlier I had photographed a scene at Charles and Fayette Streets, location of Hooper’s Restaurant and the scene of a 1960 sit-in protesting segregation in public places. Black student protesters were refused service, refused to leave and were arrested. The case was appealed and ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court.  

Now in 2015, Hooper’s no longer exists, public places are integrated and the pace of life has quadrupled. From current news and protests today, it is obvious that we still have a long way to go regarding civil rights but history has taught me that positive change does happen. My wish is that it will not take another 50 years.

My gift today is a sense of history.


Baltimore Museum of Industry

Day 357: Time

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