"What white Americans have never fully understood---but what the Negro can never forget---is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it."


- National Commission on Civil Disorders, (Kerner Commission)


Our cities are crime-haunted dying grounds. Huge sectors of our youth...face permanent unemployment... Neither the courts nor the prisons contribute anything resembling justice or reformation. The schools are unable-or unwilling-to educate our children for the real world of our struggles." 


- From the Preamble, National Black Political Agenda, Gary, Indiana, 1972






Two months ago Maryland 's Daily Record featured a five part series from journalists Melody Simmons and Joan Jacobson that was a result of a five month investigation into the nation's largest urban redevelopment project; a $1.8 billion effort to transform 88 acres of East Baltimore into a world-class biotech park. This effort has resulted in the dislocation of over 700 households in a predominantly African-American neighborhood known to some as Middle East.




Reading the Daily Record's series brought back a lot of memories for me. I was first introduced to the residents of Middle East in 2005. I was serving on the board of the Children First Movement under the leadership of Dr. Tyrone Powers and had accompanied him and other board members to a community meeting.  Dr. Raymond Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research, had invited Dr. Mindy Fullilove to discuss her book Root Shock. Root Shock is defined as the traumatic stress reaction to the loss of some or all of one's emotional ecosystem.  Root Shock can follow natural disaster, development-induced displacement, war, and changes that play out slowly such as those that accompany gentrification.



In 2008 I even got my children involved as we marched alongside the residents of Middle East Baltimore as they demanded a house for a house. It was also at this rally that Pastor Heber Brown introduced me to Chabria Thomas, a community leader and employee of Save Middle East Action Committee (SMEAC). SMEAC was created in 2001 by community stakeholders and representatives in Baltimore after the local newspaper announced that they would be forcibly dislocated from their homes for construction of a biotech park.  


I reached out to Chabria about a month ago and asked her to give me her side of the story and to explain why SMEAC was no longer in existence.   Displacement and Its Raging Effects in East Baltimore: What Happened To SMEAC, is her story and our feature article for this newsletter. Also in this issue you will find a great interview with Dr. Tyrone Powers and Dr. Gomez, Former Executive Director of Save Middle East Action Coalition entitled Power, Race and Oppression. Dr. Gomez discusses the roles played by John Hopkins, EBDI, Annie Casey Foundation and local politicians.


Racism and housing discrimination have a long history in Baltimore City. Barbara Samuels of the ACLU lays out some of this history in her PowerPoint presentation entitled "Baltimore'68: Riots and Rebirth".  "The dismantling of Baltimore's public housing" discusses how Baltimore City has been demolishing public housing with no plans to replace it.  



What has been touted as urban renewal across American is more like urban removal and the dislocation of the poor. While many neighborhoods will change, most communities will not adequately address poverty, education, job creation, living wages and affordable housing for the most vulnerable in our society.  While some seem to be optimistic about a renaissance taking place in Baltimore City, I think it is of equal importance that we keep our eyes on other predominantly African-American communites like Park Heights Community and Edmondson Village and demand fair and equitablel development, not removal and dislocation.  In memory of SMEAC and in the interest of fair development we have created an online forum entitled The Spirit of SMEAC Lives On to provide resources and a discussion platform around fair and equitable development. All are welcomed to join.


Tonight at 5 p.m. Council Carl Stokes and the Baltimore City Council will conduct a hearing to see if EBDI has made good on its promises to residents of Middle East Baltimore. John Hopkins University, Annie Casey Foundation, and community leaders have been invited to share on the progress or lack thereof. Councilman Stokes has called for greater transparency and specifics on how African-American residents and businesses have benefited over the last 10 years from a project that has use over $200 million in public funds.




In love & service,




Jamye Wooten





 "The whole history of the progress of human history shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of struggle. ... If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. ..."  

-Frederick Douglass 1857



Baltimore City Council opens EBDI hearing

Posted: 6:22 pm Tue, March 29, 2011
By Melody Simmons
Daily Record Business Writer


Councilman Carl Stokes 

The Baltimore City Council will conduct a hearing Wednesday afternoon on the performance of the nonprofit East Baltimore Development Inc. as it enters a second decade redeveloping 88 acres north of Johns Hopkins Hospital.


"Transparency is what I'm looking for," said City Councilman Carl Stokes, who is chairing the hearing. "I am looking for a vision going forward from here."


The $1.8 billion project, the nation's largest urban redevelopment effort, has resulted in the relocation of more than 700 households since 2001 in the neighborhood known as Middle East.


The hearing was called by Stokes last month in response to a five-part investigative series in The Daily Record that began Jan. 31. It will be held before the council's Taxation, Finance and Economic Development Committee at 5 p.m. and televised live on Cable Channel 25.


The Daily Record's stories presented the first comprehensive review of the massive redevelopment. The series showed that while $564 million has been committed to the project so far - $212.6 million of that in public funds - the project is lagging far behind its original timetable.


So far, 732 households have been relocated and 1,838 properties purchased and targeted for demolition, at a cost to taxpayers of $101 million.


While the project has also attracted large investments from nonprofit sources, including $63.5 million by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, $22 million from the Johns Hopkins University and $15 million from the Weinberg Foundation, it sits at a crossroads today.


Originally touted as "America's new model for urban development," the project was planned to transform a blighted section of East Baltimore into a world-class biotech park and idyllic urban community.


Ten years later, the project is stalled amid acres of wide-open spaces and vacant and blighted row houses. So far, 669 houses have been demolished and another 700 are ready to come down.


Read More

Daily Record investigation: Day 1
A dream derailed


The nation's largest urban redevelopment, a projected $1.8 billion effort to transform 88 acres of East Baltimore into a world-class biotech park and idyllic urban community, lies derailed amid vacant lots, boarded houses and unfulfilled dreams a decade after it began.


The effort to give new life to a decaying community behind Johns Hopkins Hospital began with unbridled optimism. Then-Mayor Martin O'Malley and civic leaders promised that it would energize the economy and create thousands of permanent jobs.

But a five-month investigation by The Daily Record has found that the project, promoted as "America's new model for urban development," is lagging far behind its original timetable. The recession, disengaged elected officials and unexpected problems attracting biotech firms have taken their toll.


Meanwhile, an African-American community known as Middle East has been virtually eliminated and its more than 600 residents relocated to make room for the development known as The New East Baltimore.


The Daily Record's report on the findings of its investigation, based on more than 50 interviews and examination of dozens of city, state and federal records, begins today. The five-day series is the first comprehensive public examination of the project's finances, leadership, accountability and its record in achieving its original mission.


Read More  


(Click here for complete coverage)


Day 2: The muddled money trail


 Day 3: Seeking a new vision


Day 4: The education solution




(See a PDF of the entire series



Extended interviews



The New East Baltimore project stands at a crossroads as it enters its second decade.


After $564 million of investment, plans for a world-class biotech park have been shelved. Creation of new housing and new jobs lags far behind schedule.... [MORE]


Response to series from EBDI (PDF) 





Combating Gentrification Through Equitable Development




Development trend #1: Regional development patterns play a significant role in gentrification and displacement in particular neighborhoods.


As regions grow and sprawl into a network of economically interdependent jurisdictions, the abandoned or disinvested communities become attractive to both residents and developers. Workers who tire of commuting long distances and want to be closer to effective mass transit systems look to move back towards the core. In an effort to shore up hemorrhaging municipal budgets, public officials promote regional developments that will draw people back to the core for shopping or entertainment. Because the initial abandonment and disinvestment was spurred by segregationist practices such as "white-flight," mortgage preferences and redlining by banks and insurance companies, the new influx of people and capital has a distinct racial impact when displacement begins to occur.


Gentrification in San Francisco's Mission District displaced residents and businesses from the Latino cultural nexus of the Bay Area; the expansions of Los Angeles' Staples Center entertainment complex and the University of Southern California threaten both a historic African American community and a newer Latino community as land values escalate; Chinatowns of New York, Oakland and Portland have felt the loss when seniors and low-income members of historic Asian communities can no longer afford the rents or taxes on their housing.


Development trend #2: Housing affordability problems in the United States have become more pervasive.


A shrinking investment in affordable housing by the federal government limits the affordable supply and concentrates low-income housing in disinvested communities. The federal investment in HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) and low-income housing programs has declined as much as 60% over the last quarter century. These cutbacks have placed upward pressure on the affordability of existing private units. In 1999, over 14 million owner and renter households spent more than half their incomes on housing. Contributing to these pressures is the ongoing loss of affordable rentals. More than 300,000 units affordable to households with low incomes were lost and not replaced between 1997 and 1999 alone.


Development trend #3: Not all jurisdictions are committed to producing affordable housing and enforcement mechanisms are the exception rather than the rule.


When jurisdictions undergoing growth do not tie development to affordability commitments, they are increasing pressures on existing affordable units in more affordable neighborhoods. Restrictions on land development and exclusionary zoning practices make it difficult for the market to produce housing that low-income people can afford. As household growth adds to demand, the mismatch between the supply of low-cost rentals and the number of households who need them will likely grow.


Development trend #4: Jurisdictions chase sales tax and property tax to increase local revenues


Jurisdictions make development decisions based on revenue instead of community need. Urban core jurisdictions increasingly opt for large scale developments like big box retail stores, hotels, and stadiums that draw visitors from across the region. These developments often directly displace community-serving and culturally-oriented businesses, opening wounds for communities that were negatively impacted by earlier urban renewal. The urban renewal programs of the '60s and '70s (aka urban removal) caused widespread condemnation of African American commercial districts. To residents of New York's Harlem, Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine, and Portland's Interstate neighborhood, revitalization efforts all portend the loss of community serving enterprises. With this tangible history, however, the biggest champions for community continuity-the residents-are mobilizing to direct positive neighborhood and regional change to ensure that their visions of equitable development, rather than gentrification and displacement come to life.


Indicators of Gentrification  


Specific community attributes that create the greatest vulnerabilities to displacement include:

  • a high proportion of renters
  • ease of access to jobs centers (freeways, public transit, reverse commutes, new subway stations or ferry routes)
  • location in a region with increasing levels of metropolitan congestion and
  • comparatively low housing values, particularly for housing stock with architectural merit.

While the story of gentrification within each community is unique, the process tends to unfold in a series of recognizable stages. The first stage involves some significant public or nonprofit redevelopment investment and/or private newcomers buying and rehabbing vacant units.

In the next stage, the neighborhood's low housing costs and other amenities become known and housing costs rise. Displacement begins as landlords take advantage of rising market values and evict long-time residents in order to rent or sell to the more affluent. Increasingly, newcomers are more likely to be homeowners, and the rising property values cause down payment requirements to increase. With new residents come commercial amenities that serve higher income levels.

As rehabilitation becomes more apparent, prices escalate and displacement occurs in force. New residents have lower tolerance for existing social service facilities that serve homeless populations or other low-income needs; as well as industrial and other uses they view as undesirable. Original residents are displaced along with their industries, commercial enterprises, faith institutions and cultural traditions. In San Francisco's Mission District, rents escalated so rapidly in the past few years that nonprofit health clinics, Latino cultural arts organizations and the ubiquitous auto repair shops have been forced to close. In their place, dot.coms and other office uses neither serve nor employ the historic residents of the community.





Read More

This redline map guided racial change


Click for larger image


During the Depression of the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration bailed out more than one million homeowners who were in danger of losing their homes. It also prepared real estate risk maps for 239 U.S. cities, with the aim of preventing the exposure of lenders to bad loans in the future.  Neighborhoods in those cities were assessed according to the age and condition of housing stock but also on the basis of their residents' race, ethnicity, religion, economic status and homogeneity.

This hand-colored 1937 Baltimore map, prepared by the government's Home Owners Loan Corporation, redlined much of the center city (largely African American or Jewish). Since regular mortgages were nearly impossible to get, homes there could be sold only through speculators. Surrounding areas were given a yellow designation, meaning that the government recommended the issuance of mortgages there only with caution and at strict terms.



SOURCE: http://www.anteropietila.com/books.html#map

American Apartheid:

Segregation and the Making of the Underclass

 Read More 

The dismantling of Baltimore's public housing:

Housing Authority cutting 2,400 homes for the poor from its depleted inventory


A 15-year trend shows a decrease of 42 percent in occupied units.


By Joan Jacobson


While more than a quarter of Baltimore families are living in poverty, more than 2,400 1 homes for the poor are quietly being removed from an already depleted inventory of the Housing Authority of Baltimore City. 2 With little public input, this plan will eliminate the same number of homes removed from Baltimore's four imploded public housing high rise projects a decade ago. 3 On its 70th anniversary, the housing authority - once on a mission to replace slums with safe homes for Baltimore's poor - is now in the demolition business; its occupied inventory has dropped by 42 percent over the last 15 years - from 16,5254 units in 1992 to 9,625 in the spring of 2007.5 With virtually no plans to replace the deteriorated units being razed or sold, tenant representatives and housing advocates have watched with growing alarm as they wonder if the housing authority has abandoned its mission to house the poor.


 Read More

Don't You Be My Neighbor

Middle East Neighborhood Organization SMEAC Boycotts Hopkins Biotech Park


By Charles Cohen | Posted 5/2/2007


The corner of Ashland Avenue and Wolfe Street had all the makings of a high-rolling economic development tent revival April 27. Major politicians, including U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings and Mayor Sheila Dixon, were there, as were lots of local developers, bankers, nonprofit organizations, and a preacher. Those who spoke declared that the seven-story biotech building being constructed in the background, the first of five life-sciences buildings that will be constructed in the area, represented the second coming of this East Baltimore neighborhood, much of which has been plowed under to make way for 2 million square feet worth of biotech facilities and 950 associated housing units ("Moved and Shaken," Feature, Feb. 22, 2006).


A large portion of the community abstained from the euphoric celebration, however. Those who band together under the Save Middle East Action Coalition (SMEAC), an organization that's been negotiating with developers on behalf of residents displaced by the East Baltimore Biotech Park, boycotted the event and passed up the opportunity to sign a girder that would be hoisted to the top of the building amid much fanfare that day. Some 396 households were moved from the neighborhood through eminent domain to make way for the park, which has been touted as a national model for revitalizing communities beset by drugs and disinvestment. Though supporters of the biotech construction say the project will spawn new housing, jobs, and retail in what has long been an economically devastated area of the city, the members of SMEAC feel that the people who have lived here for years are being pushed out, unable to share in the promised revitalization. One third of the 950 homes being constructed as part of the project will be reserved for lower-income housing, another third will be earmarked for police officers and nurses, while the last third will be sold at market rate.


"This is bigger than us," Rep. Cummings said at the event. "We'll be in heaven, hopefully, but our children and children's children will be benefiting [from this]."


SMEAC President Donald Gresham, however, describes the April 27 ceremony not as one that marks hope for the future, but as one that marks "the death of a way of life."


"Saying the community celebrates this, that's just one-sided," he says. "We want them to know this is not what the community wanted."


Read More

Change 4 Real

A "bottom-up" plan engages the existing residents in community building strategies and productive economic activity. Income levels of community residents must increase dramatically; employment of Black males between the ages of 16 to 35 must expand from the current 20% to 65 - 80%; the percentage of home owners must be raised significantly; opportunities for resident-owned new business start-ups must be included; and the Oldtown Mall must become an economic engine for capturing and circulating revenue several times over for further community development and enhancement, while simultaneously promoting productive businesses that help to ensure that community crime rates are diminished. (See the Oldtown Schematic)



Watch the video of Jamal Mubdi-Bey, Community Development Director, and Demographer John Morris discuss the College's transformational plans for Historic East Baltimore's Old Towne Mall.


Watch Part I -- Watch Part II -- Watch Part III -- Watch Part IV 

by Michael Leo Owens

Department of Political Science

State University of New York at Albany


Paper prepared for delivery at the Meeting of the Urban Affairs Association, Los Angeles, California, May 3-6, 2000


1. Introduction
2. Political Development by Community Development Corporations
3. Black Church-Associated CDCs in New York City


Types (Table1) (Table 2)
Programs and Activities (Table 3)
Funding (Table 4)

4. Temporal Politics: Four Forms of Political Action


Electoral Action (Table 5)
Protest Action (Table 6)
Legislative-Regulatory Action (Table 7)
Civic Action (Table 8)
5. Reflection, Inference and Conclusion




In This Issue
Resolution on New East Baltimore hearings passes unanimously
Daily Record investigation
Combating Gentrification Through Equitable Development
The dismantling of Baltimore's public housing
Change 4 Real
Displacement And Its Raging Effects In East Baltimore
The Marc Steiner Show
What The New York Times Didn't See Fit to Print
Displacement And Its Raging Effects In East Baltimore: What Happened To SMEAC?
by Chabria L. Thomas
Chabria L. Thomas and Donald Gresham

"All good things must come to an end."


These were the words that some residents read on a flyer in 2009. This was the manner acted upon by the former, executive [leadership] of Save Middle East Action Committee (SMEAC) that announced their brusque disbandment of the organization that once represented an entire community in 'Middle' East Baltimore, confronted with the problem of forced displacement due to a proposed biotech park; sanctioned by Johns Hopkins University.


Displacement, with the guise of [urban renewal] as bait, has yet to change forms from the reality of Negro Removal (James Baldwin, 1963) since Black families in 'Middle' East Baltimore have been pitted against a contrived argument that suggests their livelihood would be 'better off' outside of their community.  Many residents started to believe this was true as supporting propaganda, such as, pamphlets, power-point presentations, tours through other neighborhoods in Baltimore --deemed 'safe'--, and plenty of meetings led by East Baltimore Development Incorporation (EBDI) that convinced residents that it was their Good Samaritan duty to clear the way for this prestigious biotech park --said to be built [for] the community.  However, the question of why historic East Baltimore residents had to leave to enjoy what is [for] them has never been answered. But, getting the proper response to this question was a part of SMEAC's mission during its conception in 2001.


Glorifying The Past


There's something to be said about the establishment of a community group --funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) and the Baltimore Community Foundation (BCF)-- that at its core, was created to address the growing concerns of residents, emerging from the experience of Root Shock (Mindy Fullilove, 2005).


From the beginning, SMEAC seemed to have a genuine interest in advocating on behalf of a community of people that statistically, needed a representative.  Some of these statistics were highlighted in a short documentary entitled 'Voices from Within: A Displaced Community Speaks Out', produced under the leadership of Dr. Marisela Gomez, who held the position of director until late 2005/early 2006.  The information used in this documentary wasn't just acquired by using the internet or long hours of academic research, but rather it involved a door-knocking/listening project, asking specific questions that would help the group to understand, on the bases of humanity, the individuals they would soon come to speak-out for.  Dr. Raymond A. Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University, compiled the facts and produced statistical data, that was used in the documentary that would support the organization's demand for fair treatment, through just compensation for the acquisition of SMEAC's members' properties.


There was a very clear attempt to disabuse the people from the perception that this [project] would bring them (residents) the type of benefit that EBDI claimed they would own.  From the late night board meetings, to driving through the neighborhoods using a bullhorn to call attention to Johns Hopkins' crime, the compassion of SMEAC's founders was felt by the community of Middle East Baltimore and residents responded by joining the organization.  The issue of individualism was starting to make room for the concept of 'power in numbers' and it was visible to everyone who either wanted to be a partner in this grass-roots movement to 'Make Our Community Whole' --SMEAC's slogan-- or, like EBDI, who was forced to listen.


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Dr. Powers interviews Dr. Gomez, Former Executive Director of Save Middle East Action Coalition.


Save Middle East Action Committee (SMEAC) was created in 2001 by community stakeholders and representatives in Baltimore after the local newspaper announced that they would be forcibly dislocated from their homes for construction of a biotech park and new housing. The city government intended to use its power of eminent domain, which gives it the right to take an individual's land for the betterment of the community. The redevelopment project targeted more than 20 blocks (about 90 acres) of homeowner, rental and business property in the Middle East neighborhood of East Baltimore, affecting more than 800 households.





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The Marc Steiner Show: Too big to fail? Betting a billion on East Baltimore

February 9, 2011


Synopsis: First, an update on protests in Egypt.  Then join us for a follow-up

to last week's conversation about the

East Baltimore Development Initiative


Last week we spoke with journalists Melody Simmons and Joan Jacobson about their series in the Daily Record, Too big to fail? Betting a billion on East Baltimore. Today we'll speak with some of the key figures from EBDI and supporting organizations as well as members of the community around the development.  We'll be joined by:

Christopher Shea, CEO of East Baltimore Development Inc.

Douglas W. Nelson, President and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Chabria Thomas, Community Organizer and former SMEAC employee

Joshua Garoon, Kellog Health Scholar at Johns Hopkins





What The New York Times Didn't See Fit to Print 


 by Matthew Schwarzfeld on August 19, 2008



Editor's Note: The sixteenth and seventeenth paragraphs of this post have been revised to clarify the controversy over the two research studies mentioned.


Johns Hopkins has a complex and mixed relationship with the mostly black residents of the east Baltimore neighborhood in which the main campus is located, but a recent article in The New York Times on the university's $1.8 billion expansion plan largely ignores the issue. Though the university expansion will result in the dislocation of thousands of low-income residents, The Times looks almost entirely at the positive business impact.


Johns Hopkins' expansion is the largest urban renewal project in the country. The university, through a nonprofit partnership, the East Baltimore Development Inc., has acquired 88 acres, much of it through eminent domain. The project will raze a large part of East Baltimore-an infamously crime-ridden area with high vacancy rates-and replace it with office buildings, university lab facilities, and mixed-income housing.


The Times article, which ran in the real estate section, sees the project as nothing but a positive. It describes EBDI's work as "turning what had become an urban wasteland into a vibrant, 88-acre community" and "demolish[ing] a neighborhood to save it." (A June 2007 article that ran in The Times national section presents a more-balanced view).

Advocates have strongly opposed The Times' characterization of Johns Hopkins as saving the neighborhood. In fact, many area residents see the university as anything but a good community partner-both in the course of this project and historically.


"It was a very straightforward article that ran in the [real estate] section. That's the part of the paper where they tell people how to make money," said Mindy Fullilove, author of a recent study on the impact of eminent domain on minority neighborhoods and a consultant to an East Baltimore residents advocacy group.

Read More


The Roots Of Baltimore's Ghetto


� Prior to 1900, Baltimore did not have a geographic racial "ghetto."

� Public policies played a major role in creating a segregated housing market and spatial separation.

� Enacted first "racial zoning" ordinance in US in 1910

� In 1918 Mayor Preston appointed a Commission on Segregation

� City promoted use of racially restrictive covenants.

� Used public projects to clear black "slum" areas and harden boundaries

The 1968 Riots and the History of  Public Housing Segregation in Baltimore


Click here to see the presentation, "Baltimore '68: Riots and Bebirth"  

Barbara Samuels, ACLU of Maryland 

Baltimore 68: Riots and Rebirth - April 4, 2008


By the 1930's distinct "ghetto" neighborhoods had emerged west and east of downtown with small enclaves in other parts of the City. African Americans comprised 20% of the population but were confined to 2% of the City's land area.


Click here to see the presentation, "Baltimore '68: Riots and Bebirth"

1950: Baltimore City Council approves first urban renewal projects in the nation over African American objections


"Urban League objects that Hopkins-Broadway and Waverly projects "...give official sanction to segregation in the name of redevelopment."


" Federal Racial Relations Office warns the Baltimore urban renewal projects will effect a "triple threat:"


1) Negro clearance,

2) conversion of a racially flexible area to one of racial


3) reduction of land areas available to Negro residence.

Click here to see the presentation, "Baltimore '68: Riots and Rebirth" 

In 1963 most Baltimore schools remained either 90% black or 90% white.


� Juanita Jackson Mitchell and the NAACP, along

with attorney Melvin Sykes, called for effective integration of the schools.

� Because of segregated housing patterns, they said, Baltimore's desegregation plan, based on "freedom of

choice" and preference for neighborhood residents, was not

legally sufficient to comply with Brown.



Click here to see the presentation, "Baltimore '68: Riots and Bebirth"

In 1966 The Activists for Fair Housing, lead by Walter P. Carter, filed a scathing complaint

with HUD alleging that Baltimore was operating a segregated and discrimatory housing program.


Click here to see the presentation, "Baltimore '68: Riots and Rebirth"

In 1967, African American homeowners

displaced by construction of the McCulloh

Extension housing project fought against

condemnation of their homes.


The NAACP Legal Defense Fund filed a

complaint with HUD alleging that Baltimore

relocation officials were referring the

displaced families to housing units in the

"Negro listings" that were neither affordable

nor in standard condition.

Click here to see the presentation, "Baltimore '68: Riots and Rebirth"


Baltimore's Model Cities Application -

April 1967:  A window on the city before the riots...

" De-centralization of jobs and white population to the suburbs already well underway...


" While the black population of Baltimore County has actually decreased.


" Within inner-city Model Cities neighborhoods: High poverty, high unemployment, high infant mortality, 70% of the labor force is unskilled and undereducated,  crime is twice the city average...


" Describes increasing concentration of blacks living in substandard housing and in public housing projects.


" "Neighborhood residents are forced to choose from an obsolescent and deteriorating supply of housing within and at the fringes of the ghetto. Segregated housing patterns cause segregated school patterns."


In 2005, a federal court ruled that HUD failed to affirmatively further fair housing in the administration of its programs in the Baltimore region. Thompson v. HUD

Click here to see the presentation, "Baltimore '68: Riots and Rebirth"


Not only do mobility programs fail to magically transform the lives of the small number of people who are delivered from "the hood," but studies fi nd that relocatees are oft en worse off than before. With or without a Section 8 voucher, most relocatees gravitate to other poor neighborhoods where rents are low, thus moving the poor from one neighborhood of concentrated poverty to another, ironically validating the fears of the NIMBYs (Rosin 2008). Nor do the suburbs provide the magic formula. Xavier de Souza Briggs (2005, 36), a leading advocate of mobility programs, concedes that "many minority families that moved to the suburbs in the 1990s, even if they became homeowners, did not escape the pattern that contains poverty, school failure, and job isolation in particular geographic areas."


Displacement and Loss of Housing


" 1950-1964: 25,000 Baltimoreans are displaced by urban renewal, public housing construction and school construction.


" 90% of those displaced are African-American.


" Officials contend that displaced households moved to better housing but admit that their housing costs increased.

" Officials also admit that fewer housing units open to black occupancy are built than are torn down.



Books & Resources








Related Articles


Reading about displacement

A Dream Deferred

by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?


Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?  

Or fester like a sore--
And then run?  


Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?


Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.


Or does it explode?


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 ... You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell. (Isaiah. 58:12)

Kinetics mission is to develop new ideas that work to strengthen social movements within the African-American community; bridging the gap between church and community and providing them with the tools and skills to pursue justice and better address the needs of those whom they serve.


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Kinetics Faith & Justice Network mission is to provide the faith community with the tools to advocate and mobilize on local, national, and international issues, to build capacity to solve our own problems, and to use dialogue as a catalyst for social change. Members include clergy, scholars, lawyers, social justice advocates, and nonprofit and business professionals.