Video: Be Engaged in Our Communities

Be Engaged in Our Communities

This video aims to provide UMB students with an inside perspective about Baltimore. It is intended as an orientation to working in our neighboring communities and includes stories from community members, UMB students and staff, and President Jay A. Perman, MD. Listening to others share what they love about Baltimore is intended to spark curiosity and lead to greater interest in community engagement.   


Effective and safe community engagement

Mission of the video

Expand worldview about Baltimore and its communities


Objectives of the video

After watching the Be Engaged in Our Communities video, the viewer will be able to:

  1. Describe the University of Maryland, Baltimore and its commitment to its surrounding communities.
  2. Discuss Baltimore’s strengths and the challenges confronting its communities.
  3. Identify characteristics about Baltimore, including its uniqueness, icons, slogans, landmarks, and neighborhoods that shape and define the city.
  4. Describe cultural, social, historical, and economic factors that affect people living in Baltimore, particularly in local neighborhoods.
  5. Describe the importance of listening and other strategies to increase one’s effectiveness when working in Baltimore communities.
  6. Describe strategies for safety when working in communities.

Background and themes


This video that aims to provide UMB students with an inside perspective about Baltimore. It is intended as an orientation to working in our neighboring communities and includes stories from community members, leaders and advocates, students, UMB staff, and President Jay A. Perman, MD. Baltimore is portrayed with its uniqueness, iconic symbols, neighborhoods, some historical background, and today’s impact, including social determinants of health and health disparities. Brief safety strategies are described. Listening to others share what they love about Baltimore is intended to spark curiosity and lead to greater interest in community engagement.  


  • President Perman welcomes students to Baltimore and UMB community engagement.
  • Hear what makes Baltimore unique and what people love about the city.
  • Baltimore is defined as the City of Neighborhoods.
  • Important data points out the social determinants of health and health disparities.
  • Local community residents and students offer strategies for getting to know members of the community, leading to effective community engagement.



UMB Office of Community Engagement

UMB Community Engagement Center

Baltimore Historical Society

Southwest Partnership

Baltimore City Health Department

Baltimore City Facts

Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance


Book resources for further reading


Roots of Steel: Boom and Bust in an American Mill Town by Deborah Rudacille reflects on Rudacille’s childhood in the working-class town of Dundalk, Md. She discusses the rise and fall of Sparrows Point, a steel mill in Southern Baltimore. The closing of the mill left the community struggling to recover. Rudacille combines personal narrative, interviewS, and research to tell the story of this community.

Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City by Antero Pietila reveals decades of housing discrimination in the United States through the  lens of Baltimore. From the 1880s to post-World War II, the city has been plagued with discriminatory housing practices to shut out African-Americans and Jewish households. Remnants of these practices are seen in the segregated neighborhoods today.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot tells the story of a woman whose cancerous cells were harvested by Johns Hopkins for research. Lacks was unaware of this, and her family did not receive any compensation. Lacks' cells went on to serve as a powerful tool in medical research. The story reveals the intersection of race, ethics, and medicine.

The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood by David Simon and Ed Burns is a nonfiction novel about a family in West Baltimore in the 1990s as they face realities such as drug dealing and addiction. This book explores the role of law enforcement and the welfare system in a poverty-stricken and under-resourced neighborhood in the city. This later contributed to the development of the acclaimed TV show The Wire.

The Beast Side: Living and Dying While Black in America by D. Watkins tells the author’s story of growing up on the east side (“beast” side) of Baltimore. The book reflects on  the racial issues in Baltimore that manifested into the killing of Freddie Gray. Using his upbringing, Watkins provides a compelling narrative of growing up in Baltimore amidst violence and drug markets. 

Coming of Age in the Other America by Stefanie DeLuca, Susan Clampet-Lundquist, and Kathryn Edin uses 10 years of research and interviews to follow young adults in Baltimore. It reveals how neighborhoods, poverty, and education affected these young adult’s lives. It tells the struggles of being born into low-income families with limited access to resources. The book also discusses how public policies could help young adults overcome their disadvantaged upbringings.   


Toward a New Deal in Baltimore: People and Government in the Great Depression by Jo Ann E. Argersinger

Argersinger's innovative analysis of the New Deal years in Baltimore establishes the significance of citizen participation and community organization in shaping the welfare programs of the Great Depression. Baltimore, a border city divided by race and openly hostile to unions, the unemployed, and working women, is a particularly valuable locus for gauging the impact of the New Deal. ISBN: 978-0807857243

The Making of a Modern City: Philanthropy, Civic Culture, and the Baltimore YMCA by Jessica Elfenbein

This compelling story of a city and one of its key institutions affords a revealing perspective on urban modernity in the making. It challenges some of today’s prevailing views on the nature and relations of America’s religious institutions as well as its public and nonprofit sectors, especially in light of recent initiatives to integrate religious groups into federally funded welfare programs. Combining urban and social history, this study of the Baltimore YMCA explores the relationships among religion, government, business, and nonprofit organizations in the development of an important industrial American city and reveals how race, masculinity, ethnicity, private institutions, and religious sensibility have influenced modern American culture. ISBN: 978-0813024356

The Baltimore Afro-American: 1892-1950 by Hayward Farrar

This book traces the development of the Baltimore Afro-American, one of America's leading black newspapers, from its founding in 1892 to the dawn of the Civil Rights era in 1950. It focuses on the Afro-American's coverage of events and issues affecting Baltimore's and the nation's black communities, particularly its crusades for racial reform in the first half of the 20th century. Farrar examines how the Afro-American grew and prospered as a newspaper and a business. How and why the Afro-American conducted its news and editorial crusades for a powerful local and national black community free of racial disabilities is discussed as well. The author also evaluates whether or not the Afro-American succeeded or failed in its racial justice campaigns and to what extent these campaigns made a difference in local and national black communities' struggle for racial equity. He asserts that the Afro-American was a black middle-class institution that wanted to shape its community according to bourgeois values, but it also broke ground by looking at class issues in the early 20th-century black community. ASIN: B000THJABY

The Black Book: Reflections from the Baltimore Grassroots by Lawrence Grandpre and Dayvon Love

This book is a collection of essays that describe important issues that face grassroots activist and organizers in Baltimore. We hope that those who are genuinely interested in advancing racial justice in our society will use this resource to guide your thinking and action around issues of justice. ISBN: 978-1312512474

Got My Mind Set on Freedom: Maryland's Story of Black and White Activism, 1663-2000 by Barbara Mills

Maryland has always been a state in the middle — part southern, part northern — both in the way it has dealt with race issues and in the way it is perceived. It is the author's hope that this detailed account of the black-white experience in Maryland will enable the reader to feel and appreciate the many battles fought to get where we are today, and to realize how far we still have to go to achieve freedom and equality for all. The enormous effort that went into organizing every lawsuit and every demonstration and the deep emotions felt by the participants are reflected in these pages. The number of early lawsuits initiated by blacks themselves and recounted by the author is a surprising feature. Discussions include early history, employment, public accommodations, education, housing, and continuing racial issues. A personal touch is added with the author's account of her participation in the Civil Rights movement in Baltimore in the 1960s, with her ability to identify and interview persons she knew in CORE, and with her access to their saved clippings, papers, reports, and correspondence. Numerous illustrations enhance the text. This book was a finalist for the Organization of American Historians Liberty Legacy Foundation Award in 2003. ISBN: 978-0788422683

Here Lies Jim Crow: Civil Rights in Maryland by C. Fraser Smith

Though he lived throughout much of the South ― and even worked his way into parts of the North for a time ― Jim Crow was conceived and buried in Maryland. From Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney’s infamous decision in the Dred Scott case to Thurgood Marshall’s eloquent and effective work on Brown v. Board of Education, the battle for black equality is very much the story of Free State women and men. Here, former Baltimore Sun columnist C. Fraser Smith recounts that tale through the stories, words, and deeds of famous, infamous, and little-known Marylanders. He traces the roots of Jim Crow laws from Dred Scott to Plessy v. Ferguson and describes the parallel and opposite early efforts of those who struggled to establish freedom and basic rights for African-Americans. Following the historical trail of evidence, Smith relates latter-day examples of Maryland residents who trod those same steps, from the thrice-failed attempt to deny black people the vote in the early 20th century to nascent demonstrations for open access to lunch counters, movie theaters, stores, golf courses, and other public and private institutions ― struggles that occurred decades before the now-celebrated historical figures strode onto the national Civil Rights scene. Smith's lively account includes the grand themes and the state’s major players in the movement ― Frederick Douglass, Harriett Tubman,  Marshall, and Lillie May Jackson, among others ― and also tells the story of the struggle via several of Maryland’s important but relatively unknown men and women ― such as Gloria Richardson, John Prentiss Poe, William L. "Little Willie" Adams, and Walter Sondheim ― who prepared Jim Crow’s grave and waited for the nation to deliver the body. ISBN: 978-1421407654


Brown in Baltimore: School Desegregation and the Limits of Liberalism by Howell S. Baum

From the classroom to city hall, Baum examines how Baltimore's distinct identity as a border city between the North and South shaped local conversations about the national conflict over race and equality. The city's history of wrestling with the legacy of Brown reveals Americans' preferred way of dealing with racial issues: By not talking about race. This avoidance, Baum concludes, allows segregation to continue. ISBN: 978-0801476525

Education as My Agenda: Gertrude Williams, Race, and the Baltimore Public Schools by Jo Ann Robinson

When Williams retired in 1998 after 49 years in the Baltimore public schools, The Baltimore Sun called her "the most powerful of principals" who "tangled with two superintendents and beat them both." In this oral memoir, Williams identifies the essential elements of sound education and describes the battles she waged to secure those elements, first as a teacher, then a counselor, and, for 25 years, as a principal. She also described her own education — growing up black in largely white Germantown, Pa.; studying black history and culture for the first time at Cheyney State Teachers College; and meeting the rigorous demands of the program from which she graduated in 1949. In retracing her career, Williams examines the highs and lows of urban public education since World War II. She is at once an outspoken critic and spirited advocate of the system to which she devoted her life. ISBN: 978-0312295431


Tapping Into The Wire: The Real Urban Crisis by Peter Beilenson and Patrick A. McGuire

Did Omar Little die of lead poisoning? Would a decriminalization strategy like the one in Hamsterdam end the War on Drugs? What will it take to save neglected kids like Wallace and Dukie? Tapping into The Wire uses the acclaimed television series as a road map for exploring connections between inner-city poverty and drug-related violence. Past Baltimore City health commissioner Peter Beilenson teams up with former Baltimore Sun reporter Patrick A. McGuire to deliver a compelling, highly readable examination of urban policy and public health issues affecting cities across the nation. Each chapter recounts scenes from episodes of the HBO series, placing the characters' challenges into the broader context of public policy. ISBN: 978-1421407500

The Growth of Hospitals: An Economic History in Baltimore by Jon Michael Kingsdale

A 1989 book that is a study of the economic history of hospital growth in Baltimore. ISBN: 978-0824083366

Infectious Fear: Politics, Disease, and the Health Effects of Segregation by Samuel Kelton Roberts

Exploring the politics of race, reform, and public health, Infectious Fear uses the tuberculosis crisis to illuminate the limits of racialized medicine and the roots of modern health disparities. Ultimately, it reveals a disturbing picture of the United States' health history while offering a vision of a more democratic future. ISBN: 978-0807859346

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells — taken without her knowledge in 1951 — became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Lacks' cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. ISBN: 978-1400052189


Druid Hill Park: The Heart of Historic Baltimore by Eden Bowditch

Shady hills, rolling lawns, and gardens in the core of the city: Druid Hill Park lies at the heart of Baltimore and made history as one of the first public parks in America. One of Frederick Law Olmsted’s commissions, it led the way for other estates and green spaces to be deeded as parks that are open to all. Druid Hill’s design reflects the tradition of European garden style, and it stands as a natural refuge for fun and relaxation amid the urban neighborhoods of Baltimore. ISBN: 978-1596292093

Blockbusting in Baltimore: The Edmonson Village Story by Edward W. Orser

This innovative study of racial upheaval and urban transformation in Baltimore investigates the impact of "blockbusting" ― a practice in which real estate agents would sell a house on an all-white block to an African-American family with the aim of igniting a panic among the other residents. These homeowners would often sell at a loss to move away, and the real estate agents would promote the properties at a drastic markup to African-American buyers. ISBN: 978-0813109350

Not In My Neighborhood by Antero Pietila

Baltimore is the setting for (and typifies) one of the most penetrating examinations of bigotry and residential segregation ever published in the United States. Antero Pietila shows how continued discrimination practices toward African-Americans and Jews have shaped the cities in which we now live. Eugenics, racial thinking, and white supremacist attitudes influenced even the federal government's actions toward housing in the 20th century, dooming American cities to ghettoization. This all-American tale is told through the prism of Baltimore, from its early suburbanization in the 1880s to the consequences of "white flight" after World War II, and into the first decade of the 21st century. ISBN: 978-1566638432

Walking Baltimore: An Insider’s Guide to 33 Historic Neighborhoods, Waterfront Districts, and Hidden Treasures in Charm City by Evan Balkan

Walking Baltimore includes Charm City's well-known neighborhoods — Downtown, the Inner Harbor, Mount Vernon, and Fells Point. But in the voice of its insider author, the book also covers lesser-known and far-flung corners, revealing what makes Baltimore such a wonderful and fascinating destination and hometown. Full of little-known facts and trivia, this book shows how and why Baltimore was an essential player in the country's early history and continues to be influential today. Here is a city almost unparalleled in American history, and it lives up to its modern reputation as a quirky, come-as-you-are and be-what-you'll-be place. Zany Baltimore-based film director John Waters (of Hairspray fame) summed it up best when he said, "It's as if every freak in the South was headed to New York City, ran out of gas in Baltimore, and decided to stay." ISBN: 978-0899977010

The Baltimore Rowhouse by Mary Ellen Hayward

Perhaps no other American city is so defined by an indigenous architectural style as Baltimore is by the rowhouse, whose brick facades march up and down the gentle hills of the city. Why did the rowhouse thrive in Baltimore? How did it escape destruction here, unlike in many other historic American cities? What were the forces that led to the citywide renovation of Baltimore's rowhouses? The Baltimore Rowhouse is the fascinating 200-year story of this building type. It chronicles the evolution of the rowhouse from its origins as speculative housing for immigrants, through its reclamation and renovation by young urban pioneers thanks to local government sponsorship, to its current occupation by a new cadre of wealthy professionals. ISBN: 978-1568982830


The Baltimore Elite Giants: Sport and Society in the Age of the Negro League Baseball by Bob Luke

One of the best-known teams in the old Negro Leagues, the Elite Giants of Baltimore featured some of the outstanding African-American players of the day. Sociologist and baseball writer Bob Luke narrates the untold story of the team and its interaction with the city and its people during the long years of segregation. To convey a sense of the action on the field and the major events in the team’s history, Luke highlights important games, relives the standout performances of individual players, and discusses key decisions made by management. Luke also describes the often-contentious relationship between the team and Major League Baseball before, during, and after the integration of the major leagues. Based on interviews with former players and Baltimore residents, articles from the black press of the time, and archival documents, and illustrated with previously unpublished photographs, The Baltimore Elite Giants recounts a barrier-breaking team’s successes, failures, and eventual demise. ISBN: 978-1421424309

The Painted Screens of Baltimore: An Urban Folk Art Revealed by Elaine Eff

The Painted Screens of Baltimore takes a first look at this beloved icon of one major American city through the words and images of dozens of self-taught artists who trace their creations to the capable and unlikely brush of one Bohemian immigrant, William Oktavec. In 1913, this corner grocer began a family dynasty that inspired generations of artists who continue his craft to this day. The book examines the roots of painted wire cloth, the ethnic communities where painted screens have been at home for a century, and the future of this art form. ISBN: 978-1617038914

Group Harmony: The Black Urban Roots of Rhythm and Blues by Stuart Grossman

In 1948, the Orioles, a Baltimore-based vocal group, recorded "It's Too Soon to Know." Combining the sound of Tin Pan Alley with gospel and blues sensibilities, the Orioles saw their first hit reach No. 13 on the pop charts, thus introducing the nation to vocal rhythm and blues and paving the way for the most successful groups of the 1950s. In the first scholarly treatment of this influential musical genre, Stuart Goosman chronicles the Orioles' story and that of myriad other black vocal groups in the postwar period. A few, like the Orioles, Cardinals, and Swallows from Baltimore and the Clovers from Washington, D.C., established the popularity of vocal rhythm and blues nationally. Dozens of other well-known groups (and hundreds of unknown ones) across the country cut records and performed until about 1960. Record companies initially marketed this music as rhythm and blues; today, group harmony continues to resonate for some as "doo-wop." ASIN: B00E1XZJTE

African-American Entertainment in Baltimore by Rosa Pryor-Trusty

African-American Entertainment in Baltimore captures the brilliance of the city's musical heritage from 1930 to 1980. This educational and entertaining volume invites readers to take a visual trip down memory lane to the days when Pennsylvania Avenue, the heart of the city's African-American community, vibrated with life. Celebrated within these pages are entertainers such as The Ink Spots, Sonny Til & the Orioles, Illinois Jacquet, Cab Calloway, Lionel Hampton, Sammy Davis Jr., Slappy White, Pearl Bailey, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald; The Avenue's hottest nightspots and theaters including the legendary Royal Theater, The Regent Theater, the Sphinx, and Club Casino; and the DJs and promoters who helped cultivate the city's musical talents. ISBN: 978-0738515137


The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir by D. Watkins

The smartest kid on his block in East Baltimore, D. was certain he would escape the life of drugs, decadence, and violence that had surrounded him since birth. But when his brother Devin is shot — only days after D. receives notice that he's been accepted into Georgetown University — the plans for his life are exploded and he takes up the mantel of his brother's crack empire. D. succeeds in cultivating the family business, but when he meets a woman unlike any he's known before, his priorities are once more put into question. Equally terrifying and hilarious, inspiring and heartbreaking, D.'s story offers a rare glimpse into the mentality of a person who has escaped many hells. ISBN: 978-1455588633

The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood by David Simon and Ed Burns

Through the eyes of one broken family — two drug-addicted adults and their smart, vulnerable 15-year-old son, DeAndre McCollough, Simon and Burns examine the sinister realities of inner cities across the country and unflinchingly assess why law enforcement policies, moral crusades, and the welfare system have accomplished so little. This extraordinary book is a crucial look at the price of the drug culture and the poignant scenes of hope, caring, and love that astonishingly rise in the midst of a place America has abandoned. ISBN: 978-0767900317

Journeys to the Heart of Baltimore by Michael Olesker

The stories come from neighborhood street corners and front stoops, playgrounds and school rooms, churches and synagogues, and families gathered around late-night kitchen tables. It is a delightful reminder of the nation's ethnic and racial mosaic, home to a future Maryland governor named Martin O'Malley and a future U.S. representative named Dutch Ruppersberger. Boys from Baltimore's Little Italy, like John Pica, go off to fight a war in Italy when they know their allegiance is being tested. And a city struggles through racial convulsions, remembered by those such as John Steadman and Father Constantine Sitaris. ISBN: 978-1421418452

Coming of Age in the Other America by Stefanie DeLuca

Recent research on inequality and poverty has shown that those born into low-income families, especially African-Americans, still have difficulty entering the middle class, in part because of the disadvantages they experience living in more dangerous neighborhoods, going to inferior public schools, and persistent racial inequality. Coming of Age in the Other America shows that despite overwhelming odds, some disadvantaged urban youth do achieve upward mobility. Drawing from 10 years of fieldwork with parents and children who lived in Baltimore public housing, sociologists DeLuca, Susan Clampet-Lundquist, and Kathryn Edin highlight the remarkable resiliency of some of the youth who hailed from the nation’s poorest neighborhoods and show how the right public policies might help break the cycle of disadvantage. Coming of Age in the Other America presents a sensitive, nuanced account of how a generation of ambitious but underprivileged young Baltimoreans has struggled to succeed. It both challenges long-held myths about inner-city youth and shows how the process of “social reproduction” — where children end up stuck in the same place as their parents — is far from inevitable. ISBN: 978-0871544650

Growing Up in Baltimore: A Photographic History by Eden Unger Bowditch

Chronicling the period from the mid-19th century to the early 1900s through striking vintage photographs, Growing Up in Baltimore pays tribute to the enduring courage and spirit of children. In a city that has been, at once, blessed with a rich port and torn apart by war, filled with pristine parks and scarred by the ravages of industrial life, childhood has reflected the ever-changing times and culture in American life. From baseball games and trips to the zoo to schoolyard pals and amusement park rides, children explored the world around them. But the nostalgia and innocence of well-born youth mingled with the harsher realities that many boys and girls knew as their daily lives — laboring in the mills and factories, the haphazard destruction of fires and storms, the segregation of public places, the cold and hunger so keenly felt during the Great Depression. ISBN: 978-0738513577


Roots of Steel: Boom and Bust in an American Mill Town by Deborah Rudacille

When Rudacille was a child in the working-class town of Dundalk, Md., a worker at the local Sparrows Point steel mill made more than enough to comfortably support a family. But the decline of American manufacturing in the decades since put tens of thousands out of work and left the people of Dundalk pondering the broken promise of the American dream. In Roots of Steel, Rudacille combines personal narrative, interviews with workers, and extensive research to capture the character and history of this once-prosperous community. ISBN: 978-1400095896

Maryland Wits & Baltimore Bards: A Literary History, with Notes on Washington by Frank R. Shivers Jr.

In this first comprehensive literary history of Baltimore and Maryland (with notes on Washington writers), Shivers explores the region's long-overlooked but substantial contribution to American letters. In picture and story, Shivers' lively account ranges from the colonial satire of Ebenezer Cook, to the national anthem of Francis Scott Key, to the acclaimed works of Poe, Mencken, and Fitzgerald. Here are surprising stories of Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Dashiel Hammett, Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos, and other writers influenced by Chesapeake culture — an influence still fresh in the work of such contemporary writers as John Barth, Anne Tyler, and Russell Baker. "Nothing really can stop anyone living and feeling as they do in Baltimore," wrote Gertrude Stein. As entertaining as it is informative, Maryland Wits and Baltimore Bards shows us why. ISBN: 978-0940776210

Lost Baltimore by Gregory J. Alexander and Paul Kelsey Williams

Lost Baltimore features rarely published images of homes, buildings, industrial ports, and other commercial entities that have been razed, damaged, or significantly altered over the years, including the large estates of north Baltimore, Merchants’ Exchange, Union Station, Electric Park, Rennert Hotel, Light Street Wharves, downtown theaters, Memorial Stadium, Hutzler’s Department Store, and Bethlehem Steel. Also included are the devastating Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 and the iconic buildings that perished, such as the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad headquarters, the Sun Iron Building, and the News American Building. ISBN: 978-1909108431

Charm City: A Walk Through Baltimore by Madison Smartt Bell

First revealing how Baltimore received some of its nicknames — including “Charm City” — Bell sets off from his neighborhood of Cedarcroft and finds his way across the city’s crossroads, joined periodically by a host of fellow Baltimoreans. Exploring Baltimore’s prominent role in history (it was here that Washington planned the battle of Yorktown and Francis Scott Key witnessed the “bombs bursting in air”), Bell takes us to such notable spots as the Inner Harbor and Federal Hill as well as many of the undiscovered corners that give Baltimore its distinctive character. All the while, Charm City sheds deserved light onto a sometimes overlooked, occasionally eccentric, but always charming place. ISBN: 978-0307342065

The Arabbers of Baltimore by Roland L. Freeman

Few American cities, save Baltimore, mix history, art, and commerce in such equal measures and invest in what many might call fairly mundane matters so much symbolic importance. Such is certainly the case with Baltimore's arabbers — the mysteriously named horsecart vendors whose trade represents at once the capillaries of the city's complex food distribution system, a generations-old system of informal apprenticeship for young black men in commerce and the streets, and the symbolic reach of a small-town past into Baltimore's big-city present. There is nothing about he arabbers unique to Baltimore, except the name. And that name summons many of the issues about who they are and what they do that continue to spark debate about their prospects. Historically, there is little information about whether the term "arab" was used to describe individuals similarly employed in other parts of the United States, but Baltimore's horsecart vendors have been referred to as "aras," "ay-rabs," and "arrabers" for most of this century. Photographer and author Freeman's The Arabbers of Baltimore is a photographic and literary event. It's as though the arabbers have seen themselves on the pages and spoken. ISBN: 978-0870333972

Baltimore Streetcars: The Postwar Years by Herbert Harwood

Harwood gives a glorious picture of Baltimore in the heyday of the streetcar, combining the story of lines and equipment with a nostalgic view of Baltimore when so many of its people relied on street railways. From the late 1800s through World War II, streetcars transported Baltimore's population to and from work, play, and just about everything else. Bankers and clerks, factory workers and managers, domestics, schoolchildren, and shoppers, all rode side-by-side on the streetcars regardless of economic status, level of education, or ethnic background. In a city where residences and schools were segregated, streetcar passengers sat wherever they could. In addition to being a truly democratic institution, streetcars considerably influenced Baltimore's physical growth, enabling families to live farther than ever before from workplaces and thus encouraging early suburbs. Despite rising competition from the private automobile, streetcars remained the mainstay of Baltimore's public transportation system until after World War II, when gas rationing ended and family cars multiplied.Environmentally friendly and for the most part comfortable and reliable, streetcars also had their peculiar charm. Today, some people in Baltimore miss them. ISBN: 978-0801871900

The Baltimore Book: New Views of Local History. Critical Perspectives on the Past by Linda Shopes, Elizabeth Fee, and Linda Zeidman

The tour begins at the B&O Railroad Station at Camden Yards, site of the railroad strike of 1877, moves on to Hampden-Woodbury, the mid-19th-century cotton textile industry's company town, and stops on the way to visit Evergreen House and to hear the narratives of ex-slaves. We travel to Old West Baltimore, the late 19th-century center of commerce and culture for the African-American community; Fells Point; Sparrows Point; the suburbs; Federal Hill; and Baltimore's "renaissance" at Harborplace. Interviews with community activists, civil rights workers, Catholic workers, and labor union organizers bring color and passion to this historical tour. Specific labor struggles, class and race relations, and the contributions of women to Baltimore's development are emphasized at each stop. ISBN: 9780877228172


Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon

Simon was the first reporter ever to gain unlimited access to a homicide unit, and this electrifying book tells the true story of a year on the violent streets of an American city. The narrative follows Donald Worden, a veteran investigator; Harry Edgerton, a black detective in a mostly white unit; and Tom Pellegrini, an earnest rookie who takes on the year's most difficult case, the brutal rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl. ISBN: 978-0805080759

Why Do We Kill? The Pathology of Murder in Baltimore by Stephen Janis and Kelvin Sewell

Sewell has decided to share the insights and the pain, the dehumanizing effects of crime and waves of psychic despair and social dysfunction in his groundbreaking book, Why Do We Kill? “I think people deserve to know the truth,” said Sewell, a 20-year veteran of Baltimore’s police department. “They need to get a sense of why people kill in Baltimore. “I want people to see what we see as detectives,” he explained. “I think there are misconceptions about crime in Baltimore, and I hope this book will clear them up.” The book recounts some of the most notorious homicide cases in Baltimore in the past decade, all told from the perspective of the cop who worked them. ISBN: 978-1463534806


Baltimore Unbound: A Strategy for Regional Renewal by David Rusk

In his highly acclaimed book, Cities without Suburbs, former Albuquerque mayor Rusk explained why regions with wealthy suburbs surrounding a poor central city face continuing economic hardship. In Baltimore Unbound, he applies his ideas in an illuminating study of Baltimore's continuing economic stagnation, offering a frank assessment of its causes and possible solutions. Placing the study in the context of national urban issues, Rusk reviews similar problems and remedial efforts in other cities. ISBN: 978-0801850783


Race, Class, Power, and Organizing in East Baltimore by Marisela B. Gomez

This book examines the historical and current practices of rebuilding abandoned and disinvested communities in America. Using a community in East Baltimore as an example, Race, Class, Power, and Organizing in East Baltimore shows how the social structure of race and class segregation of the past contributed in the creation of our present-day urban poor and low-income communities of color; and continue to affect the way we rebuild these communities. Specific to East Baltimore is the presence of a powerful and prestigious medical complex that has directly and indirectly affected the abandonment and rebuilding of East Baltimore. While it has grown in power and land over the past 100 years, the neighborhoods around it have decreased in size and capital, widening the gap between the rich and the poor. The author offers a critical analysis of the relationships between powerful private institutions like the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and government and their intention in rebuilding urban communities by asking the question “How do we determine equity in benefit?” Focusing on a current rebuilding project using eminent domain to displace historical African-American communities, and the acquiring of land for private development, this book details the role of community organizing in challenging these types of non-community participatory rebuilding processes, resulting in the gentrification of urban neighborhoods. The detailed analysis of the community organizing process when families are displaced offers similarly affected communities a tool box for challenging current developers and government in unfair rebuilding practices. The context of these practices highlights the current laws and policies that contribute to continued displacement and disadvantage to poor communities without addressing the rhetoric of the intention of government-subsidized private development. This book examines the effect of such non-participatory and non-transparent rebuilding practices on the health of the people and place. ISBN: 978-1498511612

Black Baltimore: A New Theory of Community by Harold McDougall

Through extensive neighborhood interviews and a compelling assessment of the problems of unraveling communities in urban America, McDougall reveals how, in sections of Baltimore, a "new community" is developing. Relying more on vernacular culture, personal networking, and mutual support than on private wealth or public subsidy, the communities of black Baltimore provide an example of self help and civic action that could and should be occurring in other inner-city areas. In this political history of Old West Baltimore, McDougall describes how "base communities" — small peer groups that share similar views, circumstances, and objectives — have helped neighborhoods respond to the failure of government and the market to create conditions for a decent quality of life for all. ASIN: B00MWRCV24


White Like Me by Tim Wise

Using stories from his own life, Wise demonstrates the ways in which racism not only burdens people of color but also benefits, in relative terms, those who are “white like him.” He discusses how racial privilege can harm whites in the long run and make progressive social change less likely. He explores the ways in which whites can challenge their unjust privileges and explains in clear and convincing language why it is in the best interest of whites themselves to do so. Using anecdotes instead of stale statistics, Wise weaves a narrative that is at once readable and yet scholarly, analytical, and accessible. ISBN: 978-1593764258

The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons and an Unlikely Road to Manhood by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Among his brood of seven, his main challenges were Ta-Nehisi, spacey and sensitive and almost comically miscalibrated for his environment, and Big Bill, charismatic and all-too-ready for the challenges of the streets. The Beautiful Struggle follows their divergent paths through this turbulent period, and their father’s steadfast efforts — assisted by mothers, teachers, and a body of myths, histories, and rituals conjured from the past to meet the needs of a troubled present — to keep them whole in a world that seemed bent on their destruction. With a remarkable ability to reimagine the lost world of his father’s generation and the terrors and wonders of his own youth, Coates offers readers a small and beautiful epic about boys trying to become men in black America and beyond. ISBN: 978-0385527460

The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women's Struggles Against Urban Inequality by Rhonda Y. Williams

Black women have traditionally represented the canvas on which many debates about poverty and welfare have been drawn. For a quarter century after the publication of the notorious Moynihan report, poor black women were tarred with the same brush: "ghetto moms" or "welfare queens" living off the state, with little ambition or hope for an independent future. At the same time, the history of the Civil Rights movement has all too often succumbed to an idolatry that stresses the centrality of prominent leaders while overlooking those who fought daily for their survival in an often hostile urban landscape. In this collective biography, Williams takes us behind, and beyond, politically expedient labels to provide an incisive and intimate portrait of poor black women in urban America. Drawing on dozens of interviews, Williams challenges the notion that low-income housing was a resounding failure that doomed three consecutive generations of post-war Americans to entrenched poverty. Instead, she recovers a history of grass-roots activism, of political awakening, and of class mobility, all facilitated by the creation of affordable public housing. The stereotyping of black women, especially mothers, has obscured a complicated and nuanced reality too often warped by the political agendas of the left and the right, and has prevented an accurate understanding of the successes and failures of government anti-poverty policy. At long last giving human form to a community of women who have too often been treated as faceless pawns in policy debates, Williams offers an unusually balanced and personal account of the urban war on poverty from the perspective of those who fought, and lived, it daily. ASIN: B00UXLB1B8

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as "brave and bold," this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama as president in 2008 signaled a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Alexander argues, "We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." By targeting black men through the war on drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control — relegating millions to a permanent second-class status — even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a "call to action." ASIN: B0067NCQVU

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man is a milestone in American literature, a book that has continued to engage readers since its appearance in 1952. A first novel by an unknown writer, it remained on the best-seller list for 16 weeks, won the National Book Award for fiction, and established Ellison as one of the key writers of the century. The nameless narrator of the novel describes growing up in a black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York, and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of "The Brotherhood," and retreating amid violence and confusion to the basement lair of the "invisible man" he imagines himself to be. The book is a passionate and witty tour de force of style, strongly influenced by T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, Joyce, and Dostoevsky. ISBN: 978-0679732761

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son,  Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men — bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Coates’ attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son — and readers — the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward. ASIN: B00SEFAIRI

Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving

Waking Up White is the book Irving wishes someone had handed her decades ago. By sharing her sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, she offers a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. As Irving unpacks her long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, she reveals how each of these well-intentioned mind-sets actually perpetuated her ill-conceived ideas about race. She also explains why and how she's changed the way she talks about racism, works in racially mixed groups, and understands the antiracism movement as a whole. Exercises at the end of each chapter prompt readers to explore their own racialized ideas. Waking Up White's personal narrative is designed to work well as a rapid read, a book group book, or support reading for courses exploring racial and cultural issues. ASIN: B00HZZ1JD0

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs

When Hobbs arrived at Yale University, he became fast friends with the man who would be his college roommate for four years, Robert Peace. Robert’s life was rough from the beginning in the crime-ridden streets of Newark in the 1980s, with his father in jail and his mother earning less than $15,000 a year. But Robert was a brilliant student, and it was supposed to get easier when he was accepted to Yale, where he studied molecular biochemistry and biophysics. But it didn’t get easier. Robert carried with him the difficult dual nature of his existence, trying to fit in at Yale and at home during breaks. A compelling and honest portrait of Robert’s relationships — with his struggling mother, with his incarcerated father, with his teachers and friends — The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace encompasses the most enduring conflicts in America: race, class, drugs, community, imprisonment, education, family, friendship, and love. It’s about the collision of two fiercely insular worlds — the ivy-covered campus of Yale University and the slums of Newark, N.J., and the difficulty of going from one to the other and then back again. It’s about trying to live a decent life in America. ISBN: 978-1476731919

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

A national best-seller when it first appeared in 1963, The Fire Next Time galvanized the nation and gave passionate voice to the emerging Civil Rights movement. At once a powerful evocation of Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two "letters," written on the occasion of the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism. Described by The New York Times as "sermon, ultimatum, confession, deposition, testament, and chronicle ... all presented in searing, brilliant prose," The Fire Next Time stands as a classic of our literature. ISBN: 978-0679744726

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in 21st-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and on the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV — everywhere, all the time. The cumulative stresses come to bear on a person's ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often-named "post-race" society. ISBN: 978-1555976903

Negroland: A Memoir by Margo Jefferson

Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic Jefferson was born in 1947 into upper-crust black Chicago. Her father was head of pediatrics at Provident Hospital, and her mother was a socialite. In these pages, Jefferson takes us into this insular and discerning society: “I call it Negroland,” she writes, “because I still find ‘Negro’ a word of wonders, glorious and terrible.” Negroland’s pedigree dates back generations, having originated with antebellum free blacks who made their fortunes among the plantations of the South. It evolved into a world of exclusive sororities, fraternities, networks, and clubs — a world in which skin color and hair texture were relentlessly evaluated alongside scholarly and professional achievements, where the Talented Tenth positioned themselves as a third race between whites and “the masses of Negros,” and where the motto was “Achievement. Invulnerability. Comportment.” At once incendiary and icy, mischievous and provocative, celebratory and elegiac, Negroland is a landmark work on privilege, discrimination, and the fallacy of post-racial America. ISBN: 978-0307473431

Race Matters by Cornel West

West is at the forefront of thinking about race. In Race Matters, he addresses a range of issues, from the crisis in black leadership and the myths surrounding black sexuality to affirmative action, the new black conservatism, and the strained relations between Jews and African-Americans. He never hesitates to confront the prejudices of all his readers nor wavers in his insistence that they share a common destiny. Bold in its thought and written with a redemptive passion grounded in the tradition of the African-American church, Race Matters is a book that is at once challenging and deeply healing. ISBN: 978-0679749868

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum

Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see black, white, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups. Is this self-segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy? Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides. These topics have only become more urgent as the national conversation about race is increasingly acrimonious. This fully revised edition is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of race in America. ISBN: 978-0465083619

Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Dougls A. Blackmon

In this groundbreaking historical expose, Blackmon brings to light one of the most shameful chapters in American history — an “Age of Neoslavery” that thrived from the aftermath of the Civil War through the dawn of World War II. Using a vast record of original documents and personal narratives, Blackmon unearths the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude shortly thereafter. At turns moving, sobering, and shocking, this unprecedented account reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today. ISBN: 978-0385722704

For questions or more information about the video, please contact Lori Edwards, DrPH, MPH, RN, PHCNS-BC.