Throughout the winter, spring and summer of the first COVID year, as Baltimoreans and the world hunkered down to avoid the virus, Bolton Hill residents were blessed to be able to exercise, take their children to play and unwind at the sprawling green space on Laurens Street known as Arnold E. Sumpter Park.
June is Pride Month in Maryland and nationally. It celebrates the 52 years that have passed since the Stonewall movement grew from New York to become a vital and successful national (and international) continuing campaign to protect and respect the rights of people attracted to members of their own sex.
We often hear stories of injustice and think, “Why don’t they do something about it?” The next question, of course, is, “Who is THEY?” Congress? The President? Injustice is rarely remedied from the top down. It takes small groups of people, growing by one or two at a time. Change begins to happen when understanding injustice moves from the abstract to the personal.
Bolton Hill was open land in the late 1700s, drained by streams that fed into the Jones Falls. One, Spicer’s Run, ran down from Reservoir Hill, emptying into the Falls just south of where the North Avenue bridge stands today.
“As a park, it’s an impertinence. Who ever heard of a park seven row houses wide, enclosed rather sketchily by low brick walls?” That is how Sara Azrael in 1958, writing for the Roland Park Company’s Gardens, Houses and People magazine, characterized the little Bolton Hill garden now known as John Street Park.