Best Neighborhood: Sandtown-Winchester

The West Baltimore neighborhood of Sandtown-Winchester was ground zero for the Baltimore Uprising and not just because it was where six police officers picked up 25-year-old Freddie Gray for looking at them and then proceeded to somehow break his spine, which would kill him one week later. Sandtown was also where the protests sprung up before they headed downtown and it was the people that lived in the neighborhood who fueled the marches and held signs or shouted out their window long before it became a national conversation that brought in plenty of outsiders for better and worse. An indelible image from April 21, just two days after Gray’s death: from a staircase window right at Mount and Presbury where Gray was picked up, a man raising his first with two children, one also raising his fist, the other proudly gripping a sign that read “JUSTICE 4 FREDDIE.” A by-product of Gray’s death is that it not only further highlighted the need for significant reform as it pertains to policing but it also afforded many, who may have dismissed Sandtown as one of the city’s many “don’t go there” neighborhoods, a chance to see the area separate from how it’s portrayed in the media.

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