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Justice

The Other Side of MLK Boulevard

In Baltimore, the road named for the slain civil rights icon brought suburbanites downtown—and displacement and isolation to the communities along its path.
Community organizer John Comer reflects on the problems faced by the black communities in West Baltimore in front of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Community organizer John Comer reflects on the problems faced by the black communities in West Baltimore in front of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.Tanvi Misra/CityLab

It was May 2, 2015—two weeks after Freddie Gray had died of the spinal injury he received while in police custody, six days since swaths of Baltimore had erupted with rage.

John Comer was driving by McCulloh Homes, the public housing complex where he had first started organizing for racial justice in Baltimore seven years ago with the local nonprofit Maryland Communities United.