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Two tragedies occurred in Baltimore in the last week. Both incidents involved horrific events that spurred heroic efforts on the parts of the people who were in the vicinity – the much maligned, jobless black man.
On Thursday February 20, 2014, little Troy Douglas left William Paca Elementary School to walk home. As he and several other children passed a home in the 400 block of North Lakewood Avenue, an explosion (as described by neighbors) occurred and the building collapsed. Bricks cascaded onto the sidewalk with a fire raging behind them.
Several men on the street – you know the men, the ones who don’t have a job, who are always “hanging on the corner” those men sprang into action. They rushed over to the site, and started digging through the debris in an attempt to reach the children before the flames.
When the heat of the flames forced them to retreat, they watched helplessly as the house burned. Little Troy Douglas was buried in the rubble. Grown men wept, knowing they had done all they could.
Fast forward to 11:30 Sunday morning February 23, 2014, at the intersection of Fulton and Pressman Streets. A driver thought it perfectly ok to run a red light at a high rate of speed. The collusion that resulted was so fierce 4 cars were involved before the dust settled. One young man lost his life – and had just purchased his vehicle the day before. 6 people ended up going to the hospital.
Again, these black men on the corners sprang into action to retrieve the child who was in the rear of Tevin Hall’s car, the young man who lost his life. The men forced the door off the car and took the child to safety.
I share these stories because all we ever hear about black men is ‘why don’t they get off the corner.” My perspective is while it appears these men have no motivation or drive, what they really lack is OPPORTUNITY. When the opportunity presented itself to be heroic in the face of personal danger, they chose the danger. They CHOOSE to help a stranger.
They exhibited the highest side of human nature. Their kind hearts means even though the world is a cruel place in East and West Baltimore, not everyone has lost their humanity.
These stories brought tears to my eyes. Young lives lost, but also because of how refreshing and inspiring the heroic deeds of these black men were. This story needs to be shared and spread far and wide. Thank you for taking the time to read this short article.
Michelle D. Smith
Michelle D. Smith is a visionary who seeks to share her knowledge with others. Showing how to use both spiritual and social skills in being a better you is her goal. Acknowledging the fact that most are searching for both truth and companionship, she seeks to bridge those "needs" with honesty, humor and creativity. Join her on this quest for the "new". Innovative ways of thinking, nurturing, loving and sharing, creates a new YOU!
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