It started with a routine real-estate transaction. Few people noticed when Attorney W. Ashbie Hawkins bought the rowhouse at 1834 McCulloh St. on a rainy June Thursday in 1910, but three weeks later, Hawkins was big news. As The Baltimore Sun
reported in a front-page story, Hawkins was black. The Sun's
headline: NEGRO INVASION.
Hawkins' purchase, and the reaction that followed, set off the chain of events that cemented Baltimore's neighborhood segregation--by class, race, and religion--for the next century, according to Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City
(Ivan R. Dee). The book, former Sun reporter Antero Pietila's first, was 10 years in the making, and it is packed with unflattering stories about such Baltimore icons as Joseph Meyerhoff (who wouldn't sell to Jews in his Roland Park development), James Rouse (before he was an integrationist, he went along to get along with prevailing racist real-estate rules), and Morris Goldseker (who amassed the $11 million fortune bequeathed to his eponymous foundation as a notorious blockbuster whose rent-to-own contracts bankrupted the African-Americans to which he sold).