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10-12-12: The Lines Between Us: Diversity in the City
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In this episode of "The Lines Between Us" we focus on neighborhood diversity. Baltimore residents share their perspectives on the changing racial and class demographics of some city neighborhoods.
Inez Haynie-Dodson joined the wave of black families who started moving to Edmondson Village in the 1960s, which had a predominately white population at the time.
As of 2010, black residents made up 97% of Edmondson Village's population, which illustrates a trend in the city--a lack of neighborhood diversity.
Haynie-Dodson is the daughter of parents who emigrated from the Turks and Caicos Islands and Antigua in the early 1920s. She grew up in West Baltimore and said she remembers a time when racial integration was simply out of the question.
"This was a legally segregated city," Haynie-Dodson said. "I grew up on Harlem Avenue, it was one block off of Edmondson Avenue. At the time I was growing up, there wasn't an imaginary line--there was a definite line beyond which black people could not go, could not live."
One community that has grown in diversity is Southeast Baltimore. When Evelyn Rosario moved from Guatemala to Fells Point in 1991, she said her immediate neighborhood had a mostly black population and the Hispanic population was not as large or as diverse as it is today.
"My neighbors were a white couple, other homes were mixed, there were not a lot of Latinos. For some reason Latinos were not thinking of staying or living in this area at that point. People liked the county areas because maybe they thought it was a little more safer," Rosario said.
To examine some of the factors that have led to neighborhood diversity or a lack of diversity, Sheilah talked with several guests in studio. Dr. Ed Orser, author of Blockbusting in Baltimore: The Edmondson Village Story, discusses the community's shift from a predominately white population to a predominately black population in a 10-year span. Orser said the similarities between whites and blacks living in Edmondson Village during its short period of integration were overshadowed by racial difference.
Glenn Ross is the president of the McElderry Park Community Association. He grew up in what is now the Berea neighborhood but has lived just north of Patterson Park for 30 years. Ross said that there is a culture clash in his neighborhood as the result of the area's growing diversity. White residents, black residents, and Hispanic residents are living in the same neighborhood, but Ross said that there is a disconnect as cultural differences and language differences divide residents.
Baltimore City Councilman James (Jim) Kraft, who represents most of Southeast Baltimore, said his community has seen an increase in Spanish-speaking residents in Fells Point, Patterson Park and Highlandtown. Kraft noted that some tension exists between new residents and long-time residents.
The Lines Between Us is made possible by grants from Associated Black Charities, Cohen Opportunity Fund, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, Baltimore Community Foundation, and Open Society Institute-Baltimore, as well as support from members of the WYPR Board of Directors.