BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Fifty years ago this month, the fight for equality took over the street of Baltimore during an uprising that killed six, injured hundreds more and left $12 million in damages. Now, a number of leaders involved in the fight are driving a new conversation aimed at sparking change.
1968 was a year that forever changed both America and Baltimore history.
In April of that year, the fight for civil rights spilled onto Baltimore streets following the murder of Martin Luther King Jr.
Thousands took their frustrations out on buildings, businesses and boulevards.
“There was great uncertainty. There were people being arrested and there were buildings being burned,” Baltimore community activist Ralph Moore said.
Moore was just 15 at the time.
He says many of the impacts from then are still being felt 50 years later.
“Some of these vacant houses that you see were damaged then, they haven’t been occupied, and they’ve never been restored,” Moore said.
[Reporter: As somebody who lived through the ’68 riots, to have the uprising happen again in 2015, did you think you would see something like that?]
“Oh yes, I often wondered when is it going to blow? The tension remained and the conditions were still the same,” Moore said.
The longtime community leader said the 2015 uprising after the death of Freddie Gray brought a call for change to the many areas still dealing with the same problems from 1968.
“The human and social needs of the city really needed to be tended to,” Moore said.
He’s now helping to drive the conversation of history and change as part of the Johns Institute’s voices of social change. He says he hopes history won’t repeat itself for a third time.
“We’ve got to move toward everybody a normal decent positive life. A place where they can raise their families and educate their kids,” Moore said.
Find more details on the event here.