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Baltimore Remembers the Riots of 1968
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Baltimore Remembers the Riots of 1968


I'm Michel Martin, and this is Tell Me More from NPR News. We're spending today's program in Baltimore, where we're exploring the legacy of the 1968 riots. On Friday, we marked the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death on April 4th, 1968. His assassination sparked unrest in many American cities. And 40 years later, some communities are still struggling to recover.

In recent years, Baltimore has become known for its tourist attractions, including the classic baseball stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards. But it's also famous for the kind of urban dysfunction that has made it the all too real setting for one of television's most gripping dramas, "The Wire." Many see the roots of those problems in the '68 riots. Last week, we took a driving tour of riot-affected areas. It's part of a program sponsored by the University of Baltimore called "Baltimore '68: Riots and Rebirth." Our guide was Lenneal Henderson. He' s a professor of government and public administration at the university, and I thanked him so much for taking the time.

Professor LENNEAL HENDERSON (Government and Public Administration, University of Baltimore): And the embodiment of the very kinds of values we said we were about. It was almost as if, you know, the white community was saying "no" to us by taking out our leadership. And our response to that was a violent response in some places. I think the other thing to point out here is that the level of anger and frustration that we were talking about in 1968 was such that if we individualize it, people felt hopeless.

The areas that we're passing now you'll see a lot of buildings - a lot of residential buildings.

MARTIN: I want to apologize to our listeners. We're obviously having some technical problems with the report that we're trying to bring you from a driving tour of the riot-affected areas of Baltimore. We're going to take a short break, and when we come back, we hope we'll have the problem fixed. If you'll stay with us.

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