Nightmares Where Every Night is A Fantasy

 I love you Baltimore
Every day's like an open door
Every night is a fantasy
Every sound's like a symphony
 And I promise Baltimore
That some day when I take to the floor
The world's gonna wake up and see
Gonna wake up and see Baltimore and me
-Hairspray, The Musical

Good Morning Baltimore!  The kids can dance together, but there are still two sides to the dance floor. 

It is still the kids. In the Baltimore created by John Waters for Hairspray it was the kids who wanted to dance together. In 1960s Baltimore it was the dance show. It was also the theme park. It was the reality. It was repeated with Zac Efron for the 2000s. Today it’s the high school students who took on the legacy, organizing a mass protest including a walk-out, arms collections (rocks), and a call to action, bringing all eyes to the city after a week of mostly peaceful protests. 

For a city that never seemed to have its moment, there can be little nostalgia. (Who yearns for the Baltimore of One on One? Anyone?) But there still needs to be context. Thanks to the University of Maryland Law School for this breakdown of what happened in Baltimore. The story is similar to the rest of the nation.
1960Sit-ins at Northwood Shopping Center lunch counters by students from Morgan State College, Johns Hopkins University and Goucher College.
Sit-in at Hooper's Restaurant in downtown Baltimore by Morgan State and black high school students results in the arrest conviction of demonstrators (Maryland v. Bell). ("Legal History of the Great Sit-in Case" by Prof. William Reynolds)
Other sit-in demonstrations at area restaurants.
Congress enacts the 1960 Civil Rights Act reaching voting discrimination in state elections.
1961Green v State, 225 Md 422 (1961) arrest and conviction of civil rights protesters at Glen Echo Amusement Park affirmed by the Maryland Court of Appeals.
AFRO AMERICAN newspaper reporter George Collins dons African diplomatic garb to get service at a Fayette Street restaurant.
Freedom rides along Route 40 to desegregate public accommodations.
NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall nominated by President John Kennedy to the U.S. Court of appeals for the Second Circuit.
1962Setting for Hairspray the musical [with 1963 just around the corner].
Bell v. Maryland, 227 Md 302 (1962) the Court of Appeals uphold the conviction of high school and college students including the named plaintiff Robert Bell, now chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals, for trying to integrate Hooper's Restaurant.
Dr. Martin Luther King speaks to 3,5000 people at Willard W. Allen Masonic Temple urging continued non-violence demonstrations opposing segregation.
President Kennedy orders federal marshals to escort James Meredith, the first black student to be permitted to enroll at the University of Mississippi.
1963Protest organized by white and black ministers against Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Baltimore County for excluding blacks with mass arrests.
Northwood Movie Theatre admits black patrons after eight years of protest.
General Assembly enacts an open accommodations law, outlawing race-based segregation in restaurants, hotels, theaters, stores, beaches and recreational facilities - but the law only applies to Baltimore and twelve of the state's twenty-three counties.
An estimated 250,000 people join in the March on Washington, where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his famous I Have a Dream speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
1964The Buddy Deane show cancelled.
Maryland General Assembly extends open accommodations law to the entire state.
U.S. Congress enacts the 1964 Civil Rights Act, prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations and employment.
Griffin v. Maryland , 378 U.S. 130 (1964) (arrests of Glen Echo Amusement Park demonstrators reverses Green case).
So there was the Civil Rights Movement, and the notorious unrest after the assassination of Martin Luther King. But there is a 51 year gap to the story. For our (ok, my) pop culture trained brains, it has been pretty bleak. The Wire. Homicide: Life on the Streets.  Roses like Jada Pinkett Smith and Tupac grew in that concrete. Treasures like the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum emerged like a flare and melted in the consciousness. Druid Hill: Sisqo.  There is something that does not logically flow.  What happened between 1964 and 2015? It seems to be all hard knocks from the outside. Those kids who protested at the theme park 51 years ago, should have been the ones guiding the city through yesterday, preventing what we see today. 

The gang bangers may have forgotten about the drive by. But no one is singing that it feel so good in the hood tonight.  

No one thought a dance floor was enough. A theme park can only entertain for a while. So a roller coaster of ineffective changes have brought us to back to Baltimore, Maryland today. Freddie Gray was killed under questionable circumstances, and no one can provide answers as to why. People are fighting for their lives to have meaning because of this. 

I included what I’ve seen shared the most today. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t read all of  these. My head can only take so much of sad imagery and heartache. 

Best/Most Shared of the "Internets"

“There’s Nothing Black About Rioting” Twitter Essay by Jesse Williams

He shows how the news talks about black people by talking about white people instead. By Chris Hayes (Curated by Franchesca Ramsey)

What Martin Luther King Jr Really Thought About Riots by Lily Rothman


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