That’s the buried lead in The Washington Post's story about one block of a devastated Baltimore neighborhood that awaits a bulldozer.
Here's how bad things are in the city, which is majority blacks governed by blacks.
For more than a century, hundreds of people called this patch of East Baltimore home. Now the 900 block of North Bradford Street is about to be ripped down as a city with 17,000 boarded-up buildings lays waste to its blight and its history.Baltimore has 17,000 boarded up buildings? Yes, as I noted in a post about a report on NPR.
An excerpt explains what happened to North Bradford:
The block began to shift from white to black during the postwar migration to the suburbs. David Bell, 64, an African American who has lived on the opposite side of the block at 909 N. Bradford for most of his life, can remember when black families and aging immigrants lived side by side. The newcomers called the immigrants “Germans,” no matter where they were born.What explains the exodus, which accounts for some of the population decline the story describes?
“We had an old German man next to us for a long time, used to give us candy,” Bell said. “All the white folks went to St. Wenceslaus [Catholic Church], and the black folks went to Israel Baptist.” On a hot afternoon the week before the demolition was scheduled, Bell was sitting on a Bradford stoop with another longtime neighborhood resident, Alvin Gentry, 64. A commuter train roared by, close enough to make the pavement quiver.
“We used to walk those tracks before Amtrak came,” Gentry said. “Remember those smoky trains?”
“Yes, I do,” Bell replied.
“My grandmother would beat me for coming out of that tunnel all covered in soot,” Gentry said.
The Bradford of their boyhoods had clean sidewalks and flowers in the alley. Miss Ethel sold candy apples from her dining room and frozen ice pops from her kitchen. Mothers swept their stoops first thing every morning.
Agnes Mifkovic, long widowed and still living at 930 N. Bradford, died in 1968 at 83. She lived to see the riots that year, with the National Guard there telling residents to stay indoors.
Bell spent three years in prison for armed robbery in the 1970s. “When I came out,” he said, “all the white folks were gone.”
The Post doesn’t tell us, but you can read between the lines.