JUSTICE

Where Ex-Baltimore Residents Go To Vent About City’s Decline

Apr 29, 2015 at 3:28 PM ET

The violent unrest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray has led to an outpouring of grief, anger and nostalgia from former residents of the city, who in the last half-century have left in droves.

Those emotions are on full display on a Facebook page called “I Grew Up in Baltimore in the ’50s ’60s and ’70s.” The page has been liked over 7,000 times and bills itself as a “site for fellow Baltimoreans both current and former to share memories of a great place to grow up.” In other words, it is a tribute to the city, and until recently, the posts were decidedly upbeat, focusing on the delights the area has to offer, like fresh crabs and old concert schedules from the Merriweather Post Pavilion, a concert hall.

Lately, though, the page has taken on a far more somber and, at times, grim tone. On April 27, the page’s profile picture was changed to an illustration of an Oriole shedding a single tear.

The new Oriole picture prompted a series of comments. “My heart bleeds for my birthplace!” one person wrote. Another said, “I could cry. In fact I am crying.” For emphasis, commenters relied on tearful emojis.

But others were harsher, seeing Baltimore’s struggles as a self-fulfilling prophecy, not a product of decades-long systematic discrimination and neglect. “I grew up in Baltimore and left in 1972,” one guy remarked. “No regrets whatsoever. My old neighborhood was trashed within five years. You just can’t go back…it ain’t the same.” A second man added, “Long time coming.”

The only thing anyone seemed able to agree on was that the city had fallen into a terrible state of disrepair.

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