On April 12, 2015, Freddie Gray was arrested by the Baltimore Police Department and died a week later from a severe spinal cord injury. In the past, injuries and killings of African Americans in police custody have received little media attention, but Gray’s death pushed Baltimore to a tipping point. In what became known as the “Baltimore Uprising,” thousands of activists flocked to West Baltimore streets in outrage, and tension over the city’s racial inequity and poor public-housing conditions were catapulted to the forefront.
A year later, how has the city changed? Some community leaders say Baltimore is far from achieving greater racial equity. But people are beginning to have conversations about police accountability and the systemic racism that has marginalized Black residents for decades.
Tired of waiting for outside help, grassroots organizations are generating resources from within the African American community. The story of Baltimore after the uprising is one of resilience. Although the progress is slow, local activists such as Pastor Heber Brown and the members of think tank Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle are working together to maintain the movement’s momentum.