Baltimore's Alley Houses: Homes for Working People Since the 1780s

p. 12

1912 article:

Baltimore is essentially a home town. …

p. 29

“Several factors were working together to bring so many free blacks to the city. Maryland’s agricultural economy was gradually changing from the growing of labor-intensive tobacco to the less demanding cultivation of wheat. More and more Maryland farmers found it an econmic burden to maintain large families of slaves and many, like the Lloyd family, sent slaves elsewhere to work for wages. Others, influenced by the vocal abolitionist messages of the state’s Quakers and Methodists, decided on long-term manumissions instead of selling slaves south.”

p. 45

Description of Douglass’ escape in 1838

p. 45-46

1808 Baltimore City Directory, first to indicate “householders of color”

1817 next year black people are identified in city directories

p. 51-53

Descriptions of area of black residence between the 1810s and 1820s

p. 53

Harvard-educated black physician wrote in North Star in 1849:

As among our people, generally, the Church is the Alpha and the Omega of all things. (22)

p. 54

“Methodist ministers denounced slavery from the pulpit and proclaimed it a ‘great evil’ at the 1796 General Conference held in Baltimore. The fact that a well-known black orator, ‘Black Harry’ Hosier, traveled and preached with such early Methodist leaders as Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke attracted many slaves and free blacks to the new faith. … By 1800, black worshippers accounted for more than 35 percent of the city’s Methodists; by 1815 their numbers had risen to half of all congregants.”

p. 56-57

Timeline of the Methodist Church and African Americans in Baltimore

  • 1802: “old brick Strawberry Alley church in Fells Point was turned over to its black congregation when the white Methodists built a new church on Wilk Street (Eastern Avenue)”
  • 1824: “African Asbury M.E. Church opened … on the corner of East and Douglass Streets in Old Town.”
  • 1832: “Sharp Street Church had gained some autonomy by 1832, when it was incorporated into the Annual Methodist Conference with a set of black trustees and black lay preachers joining the white ministers assigned to it.”

p. 57

“By 1859, even within a repressive and discriminatory atmosphere, the black community had established fifteen individual schools, some affiliated with churches and others private.”

p. 58

1820-1845: William Watkins establishes and teaches at Watkin’s Academy

Other religious backgrounds:

  • Catholicism
    • Oblate Sisters of Providence founded 1825, convent and school (St. Francis Academy) built in 1828
  • Episcopal
    • 1824: St. James Church established
  • Baptists
    • 1836: First black Baptist congregation established, a second small congregation organized by Noah Davis (“a former slave from Fredericksburg, Virginia”) in 1850

p. 60

1838 report by the Presbyterian Church (The Condition of the Coloured Population of the City of Baltimore) found “more than forty beneficial, charitable, and ‘improvement’ organizations… However high-toned their aims, and even though they were helping to look after their own community members, such groups were outlawed as ‘secret societies’ by laws passed in the early 1840s.

October 1858 (citation notes Freedom’s Port as the secondary source), Baltimore correspondent reported to New York’s Weekly Anglo-African:

no city where I have been can boast of better churches among our people. Baltimore churches are not a white behind, either in beauty or attendance, for our people are a church going people.

p. 183-184

Addition to timeline of Methodist churches:

  • 1827: Truman Pratt begins to hold prayer meetings in house at Biddle Street near Ross (now Druid Hill Avenue)
  • 1837: First small church built on Orchard Street, named Orchard Street Methodist Episcopal Church; expanded in 1853

Addition to Episcopal timeline:

  • 1873: St. Mary the VIrgin Episcopal Mission Chapel opens on Orchard Street near Madison; supported by nearby white Mount Calvary Church (northwest corner of Madison and Eutaw)

p. 190

Description of St. Francis Xavier and other churches from the 1840s and 1850s

p. 195-1998

Description of Old Town

p. 201

On political tactics of “Know-Nothings” and the American Party: “Baltimoreans elected a Know-Nothing mayor in 1855, and Know-Nothings gained power in the state legislature and won four congressional seats. A year later Maryland was the only state to support Know-Nothing presidential candidate Millard Fillmore in the election of 1856.”

p. 208

“After the B&O opened its passenger and freight terminals at Camden Yards in 1856… the wide sets of tracks extending south between Howard and Eutaw Streets forever separated the community to their west from those residing nearer to the Light Street steamboat wharves.”

p. 209-210

Helpful description of the history of the Centenary Biblical Institute of the Methodist Episcopal Church (established 1867) and the 1881 building at Edmondson Avenue on land donated by Rev. John F. Goucher.

p. 211

1208 Druid Hill Avenue, residence of William Fitzgerald, “specialized in real estate law and ran the ‘House of Fitzgerald,’ emblazoned in gilt letters over the door of his stylish three-story Italianate house, a real estate agency that helped blacks find properties to buy or rent.”

p. 228

Description of Kemp’s study in 1907:

“As soon as she completed her study, Kemp presented her findings in a program sponsored by Federated Charities, held at Johns Hopkins University’s McCoy Hall in October 1907. Sje illustrated the talk with fifty ‘lantern slides,’ which presented scenes of unimaginable horror to the well-bred attendees.”

p. 233

“Federated Charities immediately called for fifteen amendments to the city housing code to remedy the dire situation.”

p. 239-240

Description of “protective” associations in the early 1920s.