In the Media: On Raising Black Boys in Baltimore; Feds Investigate Public Housing Allegations
A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.
From The AFRO American and WEAA’s Sean Yoes: On Raising Black Boys in Baltimore
"Oct. 26 marked six months since last April’s uprising. And one of the most enduring images from those transcendent, volatile days was that of Toya Graham repeatedly slapping her 16-year old son upside his masked head. The single mother of six recognized him while she watched the events unfold on television, during those initial moments of the protests at Mondawmin Mall following the funeral of Freddie Gray.
"Within days, the images of Graham disciplining her son went viral and millions heaped gushing accolades upon her for her actions. But, I feel like implicit in much of the praise was a perhaps not so insidious sentiment; 'All these young, Black thugs need is for their mommas to go upside their heads and knock some sense into them.’
"I too applaud Graham for loving her son enough to go get him off the street, literally dragging him away from an incredibly perilous scenario.
"However, where much of the world may see a definitive narrative of how a Black mother should deal with her Black son, I see just one small flicker of time in the 16-year history of Graham and her son.
"Of course, the relationships between Black mothers and sons is vastly more complicated and nuanced than a few thunderous head slaps.
"A new documentary, 'For Him I Will,' crafts an infinitely more complete narrative of Black mothers and the inherent challenges in raising the sons they love by themselves in Baltimore. The documentary had its debut screening Oct. 25 at the Delta Center in Park Heights.
"The film, by Baltimore filmmakers Bobby Marvin Holmes and Justin Gladden, focuses on the stories of three mothers: Lanise Stevenson, Bridget Bridgeford and Ericka Bridgeford (no relation).
“'I started going to funerals when I was 12-years old, so for me having a Black boy in Baltimore was a very scary thing,' Ericka said.
“'When I was pregnant with my first child I kept saying, `I hope it’s not a boy, I hope it’s not a boy. I wasn’t prepared for parenthood, I was prepared to just try to live everyday. I was trying to figure out who I was,' added Ericka, who was 24 when she had her son Paul.
“'For Him I Will,' is the second documentary for Gladden and Holmes who are intent on producing authentic, organic Baltimore stories"
From The Washington Post: Evangeline Moore, Daughter of Slain Civil Rights Workers, Dies at 85
"Evangeline Moore, who sought to preserve the often-forgotten legacy of her activist parents, whose deaths in a 1951 Christmas bombing at their home in Florida were called the nation’s first civil rights assassination, was found dead Oct. 26 at her home in New Carrollton, Md. She was 85.
"Her son, Drapher 'Skip' Pagan Jr., said she died sometime after going to bed on Saturday. The cause has not been determined.
"Ms. Moore was working for the federal government when she boarded a train in Washington on Dec. 26, 1951, to join her parents — Harry and Harriette Moore — for a holiday celebration at their home in Mims, Fla.
"Only when she stepped off the train a day later did she learn of the family tragedy that sparked international outrage and inspired a poem by Langston Hughes.
“'They’re the only husband and wife who died in the civil rights struggle,' Ben Green, the author of 'Before His Time: The Untold Story of Harry T. Moore, America’s First Civil Rights Martyr,' said Wednesday in an interview."
From The Baltimore Sun: Feds Investigating Sex-For-Repairs Allegations in City Public Housing, Graziano Says
"Investigators from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are looking into allegations that maintenance workers in Baltimore's public housing demanded sexual favors in exchange for making repairs, the city's top housing official said Wednesday.
"HUD investigators have 'asked for additional information. We are cooperating with them,' said Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano.
"The federal investigation comes as the Baltimore state's attorney's office has begun a criminal investigation and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City has launched its own review of allegations described in a federal lawsuit filed last month, officials have said.
"Eleven women are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which alleges that workers sought sex for repairs at three properties: Gilmor Homes, Westport and Govans Manor. Some of the women describe sexual assault, others harassment. All claim violations of their constitutional and fundamental rights, including the right to physical security.
"A spokesman for HUD's inspector general declined to comment, citing department policy regarding investigations.
"Graziano, speaking to reporters at City Hall after attending Wednesday's Board of Estimates meeting, said he was unaware of the sex-for-repairs allegations in 'any actionable way' until the woman filed suit."
From The Baltimore Sun: Second APG Blimp Grounded After Runaway Balloon Incident
"The remaining blimp at Aberdeen Proving Ground is grounded indefinitely after one of the two football field-sized military surveillance aerostats detached from its mooring Wednesday and traveled hundreds of miles north.
"NORAD spokesman Michael Kucharek said a technical recovery team is on the ground in Pennsylvania to handle the retrieval of the runaway blimp, which deflated and landed in a wooded area Wednesday afternoon.
"The balloon left behind in the Edgewood area of Aberdeen Proving Ground was taken down as soon as the military realized there was a problem, Kucharek said. The surveillance will remained grounded amid the investigation into the untethering of the first blimp, which occurred around noon Wednesday.
"The two-balloon system, known as JLENS, was launched over Maryland in December as part of a three-year test. The balloons are supposed to stay anchored to the ground by 10,000-foot cables, but authorities said one of the pair came unhitched around noon and floated toward Pennsylvania.
"The military scrambled a pair of F-16 fighter jets to track the unmanned balloon, which dragged 6,700 feet of cable that snapped power lines in Pennsylvania and cut electricity to thousands of customers. The balloon finally came to rest near tiny Moreland Township, Pa., after about four hours on the loose, authorities said."