Image of the Baltimore skyline.

At the age of twenty-one, Henrietta stared through the train window at rolling hills and
wide-open bodies of water for the first time, heading toward a new life [in Baltimore].

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, pg. 26

African American Life in the 1950's

Despite the passage of Brown v. Board of Education, Maryland was still a very segregated place. Here are stories about that time.

  • Protest & Resistance (Partners of the Heart)
    In the 1950s, race relations were changing in segregated America. The Supreme Court had finally admitted in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision that segregation violated the constitutional rights of American citizens. The court ruled that integration should happen "with all deliberate speed."

  • Vivien's Baltimore (Partners of the Heart)
    "We had never visited Baltimore, nor did we know anyone living there... Believing that we didn't have much to lose, that we were young and hopefully had many years ahead, we made the decision to move to Baltimore and to Johns Hopkins." -- Vivien Thomas

  • Baltimore and the Urban Crisis: presentation, document (Marilyn K. Julius) November 18, 2010.

  • A Brief Economic History of Modern Baltimore (Chicken Bones) 2004.
    In 1950, Baltimore was the sixth-largest city in the country, home to 950,000 people and a thriving manufacturing and shipping industry.  As the economic base of Maryland, Baltimore provided 75% of all jobs to workers in the region. Many were manufacturing jobs in textiles and automobile production.  The region’s economic  powerhouse, however, was the steel industry.

  • 1950's Race Relations Confused This Child (Baltimore Sun) April 24, 1991.
    After watching the recent television movie "Separate But Equal," one of television's best efforts, some old memories and feelings came back to me. The movie was a docudrama based on the struggles of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, led by then-attorney Thurgood Marshall, portrayed by actor Sidney Poitier, to put an end to segregated schools in the 1950s. The film ended with the landmark 1954 decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously found segregated schools to be unconstitutional.