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Middle School Students Fight To Save Piece Of Civil Rights History

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The movement to save an old Baltimore drugstore had gotten some help.  A group of middle school students is getting involved. 

Gigi Barnett explains they say it’s a chance to save the past and the future.

At the corner of West Lexington and North Howard Streets, there’s a push to preserve the past.  The youngest of the demonstrators are middle-school students.  They’re the latest to join the fight to save Read’s Drugstore, the site of a 1955 civil rights lunch counter sit-in, what some historians call the nation’s first.

“In a way, I feel bad for them because they had to go through all of that stuff, but they made a change,” said Elizabeth Radke, City Neighbors School student.

After the 1955 sit-in, Read’s became integrated and so did other Baltimore restaurants and stores.

“There was just a bunch of us here and we decided that we were going to go in there and sit down and we’re going to get something hot to eat,” said Dr. Helena Hicks, who was there that day.

Now an out-of-town developer wants to raze a block of what was a booming business district, including the old Read’s.  It will make way for a brand new, $150 million project.

“We want it preserved.  We want to say that this is a national monument to civil rights, the first sit-in in the country.  They should be proud of that,” Hicks said.

Peter French’s sixth-grade social studies class at City Neighbors Charter School studied how blacks in Baltimore contributed to the civil rights movement.  Then the students heard about the mission to save Read’s.  French decided to take his history lesson to the streets, so his students would never forget.

“It’s time to save it.  Without this, we’re in trouble,” French said.

Many parents joined in Saturday’s student protest.  Meanwhile, members of the city’s Preservation Committee are considering a request to make Read’s a Baltimore landmark.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Jerry says:

    Where were they all this time. Now that Baltiore want’s to get new shops and jobs they show up. This is rediculaus ( excuse my spelling) If it was so inportant why did everyone let it run down. Take what’s left and put it in a museum. The way that area is all you have are drug dealers, fire hazarda and other crime. Tair down the whole and let’s inprove the city so we can be proud again.

  2. Jeff says:

    How come people don’t come out like this against the shootings in Baltimore. They won’t do anything about the drug dealers but they will protest to save a building. I just don’t understand

  3. JS says:

    Do any of the above commenters LIVE in Baltimore? It’s disheartening to see such bigotry and lack of respect for our nation’s history.

  4. TYRONE WILLIAMS says:

    IF THESE PEOPLE WANT THERE MESSAGE GO TO PARKVILLE SCHOOL WHERE MR PRESIDENT OBAMMA WILL BE, TAKE YOUR SIGNS, VOICES AND BE HEARD, PARKVILLE MD , PARKVILLE MIDDLE SCHOOL,,,,THIS IS THE PERFECT TIMING FOR SCHOOLS TO BE HEARD,VOICE IN NUMBERS

  5. Ronald G Miner Jr says:

    You certainly can tell which posters attended Baltimore Public Schools…

    1. midge says:

      The posters looked fine to me — but stay on the story — or do you have OCD — concentrate – concentrate.

  6. jmo says:

    Of course they are black…………

  7. H.-A. Roberts says:

    I feel that Baltimore needs this piece of history saved. Every piece of history is important for our young can learn and grow from it. What alot of us fail to understand is, everywhere you stand is a piece of history. It’s up to you if you want to understand it or not. I am proud of the students in Mr. French’s class. Your saving a piece of history so you children can learn. And, when you all tell the story, ya’ll can say you helped save it.

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