This program originally aired on July 16, 2018.
It has been a little more than three years since the city of Baltimore was convulsed with violence following the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody on April 19, 2015. After the National Guard went back to their barracks, after the fire at the CVS Drugstore at the corner of Penn and North was extinguished, and after the curfews were lifted, there was a frenzy of finger pointing as to how the city responded to the crisis. The Mayor at the time, Stephanie Rawlings Blake, would decide a few months later not to seek re-election. A new police chief was appointed, and political leaders at the state and local levels promised decisive action to address the underlying problems of poverty and inequality that were seen as the root causes of the unrest. The business community and numerous non-profits pledged to redouble their efforts to help lift neighborhoods like Sandtown Winchester out of its economic and social morass.
So, what, if anything, has changed since 2015?
Today, a conversation about a book by Sean Yoes, a highly respected Baltimore journalist, who chronicles what happened in the turbulent weeks following Freddie Gray’s death, and the three years which followed. Sean Yoes is a good friend of this program. He is the Baltimore Editor of the Afro American Newspaper, and co-host of Truth and Reconciliation, a podcast that we are proud to have as part of WYPR’s Podcast Central. For several years, Sean hosted a show on WEAA Radio, and he even served as a producer of Midday back in the day, when our show was hosted by Dan Rodricks.
His new book is a collection of selected essays that he has published in the Afro during the last three years. It’s called Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories from One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.