Historic Pennsylvania Avenue
By D. Morton Glover
morning, approximately 17 summer youth workers convened inside
Shake N Bake Family Fun Center's Billie Holiday Room. There on
Historic Pennsylvania Avenue, they learned about people who
played a role in what many view as the Mecca of the black
community in the 40s and 50s.
Providing the instruction on local history
was none other than Louis Fields,
founder of Baltimore Black Heritage Tours. Also present for the
youth's first day of work was Jim Hamlin, an official with
YouthWorks, the managing entity responsible for providing
employment opportunities for thousands of Baltimore young people
While not every child that applied for a job
received one, these young people generally felt
"blessed" to have such a unique opportunity.
According to Hamlin, "These young people
have the opportunity to participate in the only program of its
kind this summer."
In addition to helping to keep "The
Avenue" clean, they are also charged with learning, yes
learning about the rich heritage and culture associated with
this West Baltimore thoroughfare.
"They have already learned about the
significance of the Royal Theater," said George Gilliam.
Gilliam, the CEO of the Pennsylvania Avenue
Redevelopment Collaborative (PARC) and the President of the
Pennsylvania Avenue Committee (PAC), is supervising the youth
for about 5 weeks this summer.
Gilliam, along with his late wife, Stephanie,
were responsible for spearheading the effort to get the new
monument posted on “The Avenue.”
Mrs. Gilliam, who was shot and killed last
year, has a block at the monument dedicated in her honor. For
years, she stood by Gilliam's side and served as Vice President
of PAC as they presented the annual Cadillac Parade and Royal
Theater Music Festival. While this year's event was postponed,
PAC is expected to deliver a "knock-out" show on
Saturday, September 25, 2004 in honor of the new monument.
"This is all about reviving the rhythm
on Historic Pennsylvania Avenue," said Gilliam. "We
are just so pleased to have these young people on board with us
this summer. I know it has already been an educational
experience for all involved. I know Stephanie would be
15 July 2004
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updated 6 April 2010