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    Dec 21, 2006
    Black Flight

    I've been thinking about starting a blog that focuses on the homebuying process. I think it would be really good for other people to know what the process is like first hand. On one hand....its VERY exciting. Just the thought of how I would renovate...tear out walls...add granite counter tops...add pedestal sinks...days spent rummaging at architectural salvage yards, etc. often keeps me up at night. Funny thing....how I'm actually going to pay for it is pretty much my last thought. I've always been like that: decide on the out come and figure out how to make that happen. On the other hand..........this is extremely frustrating. Not the house it self, but the location.
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    As I've mentioned before..................
    I LOVE HARLEM PARK!!!
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    Granted....it's a ghost town right now.
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    8 out of 10 houses on any given block of the section of behind Heritage Crossing (former Murphy Homes site - West Baltimore) is vacant. Blight is all ....but man...if you can just look past the blight......the housing stock in this area are REAL HISTORICAL GEMS. I want that for myself!!! I want to have a house that has a history....a legacy is even better.
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    I must admit....I often ride through the area at night....LOL! Just imagining if I were a real estate developer what I would do to the area....I'd knock out this whole row of houses and build a courtyard in the backs of the homes (think Spicers Run @ North and Eutaw) so that folk could park their cars in the back......I'd knock out every other house and create side yards......I'd do this....I'd do that......
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    I have a friend that is a realtor and he has been very helpful, but much of my enthusiam comes as a result of my own research and not the realities of the situation (not his encouragement either...LOL!)...who in their right mind would choose to buy their primary residence in a run down area? Well.....Im an Aquarius and we like to be different... trail blazers, if you will.
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    i.e.:
    Baltimore had a southern segregationist inheritance that was, if anything, heightened by what one historian has called the "assertive self-consciousness" of its black populace, 90 percent of which was free before the Civil War.[12] As Jim Crow descended on the border city, skirmishes between white and black labor heightened its effects, so that by the 1910s segregation was more pronounced in Maryland than in any other border state.[13] Up to the 1890s, when an influx of black southern migrants began, there had been few exclusively black neighborhoods in the city. After the turn of the century blacks began leaving overcrowded and disease-infested alleys, displacing whites in upper west central Baltimore, and by 1910 half of the city's blacks lived there. Whites petitioned the mayor to "take some measures to restrain the colored people from locating in a white community"; this resulted in a 1913 ordinance that made segregated housing legal in Baltimore. So effective was white Baltimore's effort that it set precedent for legislation in other cities.[14] This sanctioned black area, twenty-six blocks centered on Pennsylvania Avenue, became a booming black metropolis by the 1930s.[15]
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    Source: Behind the Backlash White Working-Class Politics in Baltimore, 1940-1980
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    And still the segregation continues. Look around you.....areas with concentrations of black ppl have been systematically excluded from the reinvestment in Baltimore.
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    You can't get this much house for the money. Once I get my house...I will have a 2 story house (If I choose to only live on 2 flooors) and options for rental income. Eventually....I can live in my house for free if I want to. That is how you come up!
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    Harlem Park, Upton, Marble Hill, Druid Heights....all recognized historic communities (Upton -Nationally) ......with a history far richer than many of the other communities in Baltimore that they've turned into yuppi-ville....why has no one jumped at the opportunity to revitalize this area?
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    What you know about the Chitlin Circuit coming through Pennsylvannia Ave?.....Billy Holliday @ the Royal Theater? The Upton School...........or Birth place of Thurdgood @ 1632 Division Street? ...... stops alone the Underground Railroad journey. Why has this part of Baltimore history been so neglected....almost forgotten? .....& ultimately factors so very little in the city's overall master plan.
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    .............suuuuuuuuuure plans been in the works for years....but when is the real investment going to start? Black folk spend more of their income than any other group of people .......you can't tell me that if they REALLY fixed up Pennsylvannia Avenue (not patch work) as part of the plan to fix the community that it would not work. You have to give the community a proper and attractive main street. Folk that like modern city life....like it because of the things that you see in areas like Charles Village, Hamden or Canton....coffee shops...neighborhood restaurants... unique boutiques.....A CLEAN SUPERMARKET thats sells fresh produce (they've ran the once important arabbers out of business) and meats & one that's comparable in style and product availability of all the other food markets in any of the other Baltimore community that values its resident's tax dollars!!!!!!.....(seems like a no brainer, but its really like that in many inner city neighborhoods)......lounges....if you don't add any of that to Pennsylvannia Avenue ...how do they plan to entice ppl with money to invest in the area? I want to see signs of progress around me. Where is the progress in this corridor & please don't talk to me about them re-doing the market....LOL! have you been in there? All I see is stalls selling fried chicken and chinese food, people selling hats and key chains and folk standing around asking for money. This is why no one wants to invest....until you are ready to address this....nothing good will come of this. And moving ppl to the county is not going to do anything but make the county off the hook....unfortunately....you can't get rid of (locking up guys for a half a century for selling drugs) or simply ignore poor people (not homeless, just the kind of ppl that literally sit on their steps all day in the summer b/c they have no where to go "today")......you have to get more creative...segrating all the poor ppl or the ppl most likely to not conform to societal norms never worked in the past.....how about we try another approach. I almost want Sheila Dixon to win...I would love to see what she would do with Baltimore. But just like most other politicians...she has prolly made so many promises that her hands are already tide.
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    But why has this area been allowed to completely fall apart (notice: they fixed Pigtown before it got out of control......changed the name to Washington Hill to improve the image...LOL!). By completely I mean....totally abandoned streets.
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    Possible explanations: the people who's history is entrenched in the long abandoned streets have chosen not to retain it......no one knows about it (the school don't teach black children about their place in the history of this city and you wonder why they don't care about it) .......the houses are so expensive to renovate and who has the money to fix up a house?.....folks had been living near the projects (and all that comes with that) for so long that as soon as they could they wanted to get as far away from that area they ran (besides, they didn't own the house anyway).....
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    You heard about white flight, but what about Black Flight? No one talks about it? THIS IS THE REASONS THE BCPD schools are so BAD!!! If more people demanded more ...if more people had a vested interest in the city (i.e. voted, attended City Council meetings, etc.) things would change with time. There is strength in numbers....when the people most capable of speaking leave (and take the next generation to pick up the fight with them)....what do think the outcome will be?
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    As soon as we get a chance to move on.....we do, but who is that hurting?
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    ......its time that we do something now....or they will bulldoze all of it and it will be forever lost. I didn't even grow up in the area and I am very interested in its fate. FYI: I know that I can't change Baltimore...LOL! But what I can do is try to speak to the next generation....maybe history will be intriguing to them cause my genertaion thinks they know and have seen it all. I know that my vision of the revitalization of areas in Baltimore that are steeped in AA history will prolly never come to fruition, but I would not be usuing the brain and heart that God gave me if I didn't speak my mind.
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    Harlem Park is home to many 3 story historic homes, beautiful parks and sqaures created around the time of the Civil War.....HUGE gothic churches....ALL on PRIME real estate. It is less that 10 mins from the heart of downtown and easily ecessible to all major highways ....in addition...in a few years the red line will make a stop on Mount Street (in Harlem Park)........THE WASHINGTONIANS WILL LOVE THESE HOUSES......(same house will cost half a mil + in DC).....especially if they close it off to the public and add a gate house at the front. mmmmmmmmmmh! or add garages so they can drive into their houses and never come out unless they have to....LOL!
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    all indications are there ... in a few years this area will be a HOT HOT HOT spot!!! I would suggest that smart people take a look at the area today. Get in and buy now......in a few years....after they lock everyone up and/or give out section 8 vouchers to ppl that think the grass is greener in the county .....the area will come back and you can either be part of it or not.
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    Look at Harlem NYC. Look at how long it took for them to enter into that territory (No more room in Manhatten. Now, how long do you think it will take before the areas of Baltimore people are currently populating in drones will fill up?) and now that its been proven to be a viable housing option....the same ppl that would NEVER venture into HARLEM are taking OVA!!!
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    ....as soon as Bill Clinton proved that a white man could be safe or that not all black people live like animals and/or like squalor.....everyone started coming (now there are million dollar condos in Harlem and white folks eating real soul food and calling Sylvia's Red Velvet cake the best they've ever had)
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    the most encouraging sign is that young black professionals willing to re-invest in a community are leading the pack. But then again....new Yorkers look at it as Real Estate....nothing is the hood....its only a lack of new paint and flowers. Theses people who've decided to reonvest will all win in the long run. Spend $70000 today for a house in OLD West Baltimore renovate it and it will be worth 4 times that in less than 10 years. That is the point of investing in Real Estate: buy cheap and sell higher. .....you couldn't get an empty lot in Washington Vil for that (let alone a HOUSE that mainly need new walls and some TLC).....get thoughts of Fed Hill and Fells Point out your heads. You've never get the return on your investment that you could get if you reinvest in a run down area. This has been done over and over again...everywhere but here...are we that slow? Plus...the history of Harlem has been retained (no one would have thought of changing the name of the area simply because it was falling into disrepair). The culture and history are interwoven into the community....everyone know's that it was the black area of town and its celebrated. Black business like Caroll's Daughter (speciality shop backed by Jay Z, Jada Pinket and more) have flagship stores there. The same thing could happen in this part of Bmore, but thanks to our history...its prolly won't. Its so sad.
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    Although they have torn down the actualy Royal Theater...so much more could be done to pay tribute to the history that was made between those walls. NY has invested Millions into the World Famous Apollo Theater.
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    I was pissed to find out yesterday about the history of Cherry Hill. The whole reason that area was created is so very sad......Noooooooooooooooow after all this time...they want to fight crime and fix it up and call it Harbor West - WTF?
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    They never changed the names of Canton, Curtis Bay or any other area of the historically white city that went through a rennaisance....why not let Cherry Hill change its legacy. The poor black people that live in Cherry Hill feel an immense amount of pride in their neighborhood despite its checkered history.....Now....they won't even be able to afford to live there.
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    OK....Im starting to feel frustrated.
    ...................................now can you see why I need a blog for this topic. SO much to say, but this may not be the correct forum..... IF YOU LIVE IN ANY OF THESE AREAS.....or GREW UP in the area....PLEASE CONTACT ME....I'd love to talk!!!
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    I'll be back with some Bmore Hip Hop ish a lil later....
    The GZA show was very interesting....good, but interested. Ill elaborate further when I get a few.
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    mwah!
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    picture sources:
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    check me out on MYSPACE @ www.myspace.com/clove or www.myspace.com/itsbaltimorebaby
    posted by C Love "The Rap Addict" @ 12/21/2006 11:48:00 AM  
    3 Comments:
    • At Thursday, December 21, 2006 10:43:00 PM, Anonymous bunny said…

      Hey where did u get that map at of baltimore hoods? bunny send the link to m.o.l's myspace please or call me i luv ur voice. LOL!!!

       
    • At Friday, December 22, 2006 8:50:00 AM, Blogger C Love "The Rap Addict" said…

      sorry...i am not as ignorant as I may sound....


      I am sure that Fells Point, Canton, Patterson Park, Curtis Bay have a rich history.


      I was just expressing frustration over the fact that ours (meaning black Baltimoreans) know little about the history in that area of the city. No one has ever taught me about this in school ever. My grandfather never went into detail with about the baltimore of yesteryear.

      Its very sad.....I should have been a history teacher....maybe one day.



      And Bunny.......I will call you. Also..the link the the map is at the bottom of the post. or go to the livebaltimore.com site

      c-ya!

       
    • At Friday, December 22, 2006 3:08:00 PM, Blogger Al Shipley said…

      Yeah, this is a real interesting subject, thanks for speaking of it. I like the idea of a blog about real estate and homebuying. Especially with all the ramifications of the market boom in Baltimore the last few years, the good and the bad. You should talk to Ray Lugar about this sometime, he seems to know a lot about Baltimore history and the social and economic contexts of the changes going on right now.

       
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