Racial issues will be America’s downfall! She has to come to grips with the issue and lean toward equality, by showing it, expressing it, and by all means demonstrating it to the people. Concrete short- and long-term goals and solutions are an absolute must, not lip service, and not the giveaway programs after the 1968 riots that were obliterated within 10 years. Then, MONEY became the majority’s means of separating people, culture, and class in place of racism. Unfortunately, revolts make many people, including those in power, listen.
The gaps between white and black and rich and poor have simply become wider and wider and wider. Baltimore City’s black population is 63 percent of more than 622,000 people. Many are corralled within their postal ZIP codes with limited opportunities. Most of us have televisions and view the better lifestyles of people right here in the city and nationally. Many blacks daily confront serious, serious roadblocks, economically, educationally, and socially, and it’s all by design.
These people hurt. Being undereducated should be unacceptable in a country with the United States’ wealth and prosperity. Education is the No. 1 factor, period. Serious-minded people are needed to undertake this special mission of the deprived.
Look at the enjoyment of those who attend sporting events, eat at fine restaurants, and experience life to the fullest here in the city. Many are out-of-towners and use our city as a playground. Some Baltimorean said an extra tariff should be placed on the purchase of baseball and football tickets for out-of-towners. Many are drunk, become obnoxious in their behavior, and trash the city. Yet the taxpayers have to foot the cleanup bill. These offenses are committed in front of the police and no actions are taken. It’s truly a tale of two cities seen through the cab’s windshield. For blacks, the letter of the law is strongly enforced, while minor offenses by whites are overlooked. Just look at the curfew: It was strongly enforced on blacks at North and Pennsylvania but the whites in Hampden were just warned.
The Freddie Gray police brutality situation really lit the fuse! The howling, screaming pain and suffering coming from Mr. Gray as he lay helplessly pinned down by two Baltimore City policemen, his body bent into a pretzel ,was unnerving to many as they watched the video on local and national television networks. There has been so much racial injustice, discrimination, and prejudices in the last few years nationwide, especially with the police in these poor black ghetto neighborhoods. Being black in America is tough; racial discrimination is always there.
People were saying they are simply tired of this shit, speaking of prejudices against blacks, inadequate education, slum housing, and wages. Most animals fight back when they become cornered or boxed in; even a rat will go for the jugular when trapped. Essentially, this was the situation that was sparked after Freddie Gray’s murder. After numerous other murders by white policemen in the last two years around the country, enough is enough.
This unrest started immediately after Freddie Gray’s funeral at New Shiloh Baptist Church in West Baltimore which is in close proximity to Mondawmin Mall and Frederick Douglass High School.
The Baltimore Police Department was put to task. Their mission is to serve and protect life and property in this jurisdiction. Mondawmin Mall was advised to close down early. Frederick Douglass High School is located directly across from the mall and many students use Mondawmin’s midtown metro station for transportation home.
Some of the students became angry and agitated after learning that the station was closed. They were stranded with lack of supervision and advice. Groups formed, and later they started throwing rocks at the Baltimore and MTA transit police. This is where the revolt began spreading southbound to Pennsylvania and North avenues and consequently spread throughout the city like a plague by nightfall.
The brunt of the revolt appeared to be limited to that Monday after Freddie Gray’s funeral. Fires were set and commercial businesses looted, costing millions of dollars in damages. The situation was out of hand and the mayor asked Gov. Hogan for additional Maryland state troopers and the National Guard to bring law and order to the city. There is still plenty of nervous tension in the city to this date.
A 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. curfew was enacted for the following Tuesday by the mayor with staunch protesting for the next five days from the protesters and suffering businesses. Police lines were formed nightly at various locations as the 10 p.m. curfew approached, with North and Pennsylvania being the epicenter. Numerous people were arrested because of the violation. Difficult decisions were in the hands of police commanders, but fortunately, there wasn’t a repeat of what happened at Kent State University in 1970, when the Ohio National Guard killed four students. Baltimore’s curfew was lifted the following Sunday.
Presently, our city needs to HEAL! Many celebrities have come to Baltimore’s aid with concerts and other activities. Also, look for some form of retaliations from the police slowing their work performances down in one way or another because their fellow colleagues were charged with a felony crime.
Stay tuned, it’s far from over.
Thaddeus Logan is the author of the books “Hey Cabbie” and “Hey Cabbie II.”