The Mail 7/1/15

Why Robert E. Lee park?

It was a combination yesterday of being at Robert E. Lee Park with my granddaughter, the massacre in Charleston, and it being Juneteenth Day that made me decide to write a letter to the mayor and the county executive about the renaming of the park. Before writing a letter, I wanted to check my facts (something I had come across several years ago and was a bit sketchy on) as to the history of the naming of the park.


Actually, I could not find a thing, but I knew that Elizabeth Garrett White (a member of the famous Garrett family) when she died in 1917 left money in her will for the construction of a sculpture of Robert E. Lee to be placed in Druid Hill Park. Before that could be accomplished, J. Henry Ferguson also had left money in his will for the creation of a sculpture of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, which is now in front of the BMA. Since there was already going to be a monument to Robert E. Lee in Baltimore, Robert Garrett, the nephew of Ms. White who happened to be the president of the Baltimore Board of Recreation and Parks, had the money from the will switched over to buy the land around Lake Roland and called it Robert E. Lee Park. While trying to research this on the web, I came across the editorial you wrote for City Paper (The News Hole, June 22). I agree with you completely. For argument's sake, if Ms. White had lived long enough to be a Nazi sympathizer and had named the land Adolf Eichmann Park, or had loved the British and named it Sir Charles Trevelyan Park (the Britain most responsible for England not offering any help to the poor Irish during the potato famine), the name would have been changed years ago. It is just another indication of how little power blacks have, that a park in Baltimore, named after the leader of the army that fought to preserve the institution of slavery, can elicit so little protest.

To add insult to injury, the Garretts were well known to be Southern sympathizers and John Garrett only went along with the Union because he could make big bucks allowing the Union to use the B&O Railroad. Robert Garrett, the person most responsible for the naming of the park, was a rigid segregationalist and fought for the separation of Baltimore park facilities based on race until his positions forced his retirement from the park board.

Ralph Brown
The Pratt has bigger problems than Baltimore poetry

The reason the Enoch Pratt Free Library "does not have a Baltimore poetry section" is not, as Roz Held too generously suggests (The Mail, June 16), due to "funding requirements and [a] space shortage," but rather because the EPFL administrators seem determined to make the very worst possible use of funds, space, and personnel they have.

For proof, walk into the Pratt Central. The second floor, former home of the Fine Arts Department, and third, where the Humanities Department (which includes poetry) used to be, are now closed to the public. Those two departments have been jammed into the already-overcrowded Social Science and History and Business, Science and Technology departments on the first floor, necessitating the discarding of thousands of perfectly good books—books the taxpayers paid for—and the housing of others in the stacks (and soon, in warehouse space) where the patrons cannot get them withou assistance from staff members who may, or may not, know how to do their jobs half right. (I worked there for 13 years, I should know.)

Considering that the EPFL would rather use precious space for more meeting rooms for library bigwigs to fart around in, instead of to house material for public use, why should Heid, or anyone else, expect them to care enough about local writing to have a Baltimore poetry section?

Jon Swift
Blaze for the 20!

Finally, an American woman worthy of honoring on our 20-dollar bill! After reading your account of this pre-feminist, independent, intelligent, witty, and successful lady (Feature, June 24), I'm convinced her image on our legal tender would encourage citizens to earn and spend more. Isn't that the American way, after all?

We live in an era where everyone's sharing their most personal information and physical attribute details on social media. Blaze knew how to share everything and did it with dignity and class half a century ago.

We need a woman on our currency, and Blaze Starr deserves that place of respect. It would send a message to the world.

Rosalind Nester Ellis
FROM THE WEB, Facebook, and TWitter

Baltimore needs road projects, however, the Red Line would have been a money pit.

— “Charles Fletcher,” June 25

A "money pit" would be fine if it created jobs and improved the city's crumbling infrastructure; most of the make-work projects during the depression were money pits. But, as just one example, the Hoover Dam continues to be a good investment. (I'm not sure Mt Rushmore qualifies.)

— “Sallie Whitney,” June 25

Because people didn't vote!!!! Dems have no one to blame but themselves. Brown was flawed but people should have stepped up.

— “@LA_Denizen,” June 25

Well, I for one am shocked. Shocked that BPD would try and take the heat off of themselves and place it back on the community. Shocked I tell you.

— “Michelle Jenkins,” June 24

Them and whoever decided shutting public transportation down before kids got home from school was a good idea.

— “John Shepard,” June 24

EXACTLY! It sounded like BS from the moment I heard it and somehow it was irresponsibly treated as valid without further investigation. Incredibly reckless on the part of this involved.

— “Mari Verrecchia-DeLonde,” June 24

I heard this, what a joke. She is having a tough time leading our city and she is picked as the president of the U.S.Conference of Mayors?? I am a little confused.

— “Dave Votta,” June 24

By 'tv and movie people,' you mean the hundreds of consummately capable crew members based in Maryland who are now out of work?

— “Oddly Nefarious,” June 26

pretty much everyone was winning this week!

— “@newtelah,” June 24

You have to watch out for the Canadians. They are sneaky. And very sensitive to claims they are "America's hat."

— “Michael Craven,” June 24

Now THAT'S what I'm talking about! These are the kind of important stories that should be reported and that I want to see more of!

— “Crappy The Anti-Defecation Dolphin,” June 24

There is no reason to honor a traitor who dishonored his solemn oath to uphold the Constitution and led a bloody futile rebellion against United States of America. It is called treason.

— “Jan Houbolt,” June 23

FINALLY. This is such a beautiful park too, and did we forget that Maryland was never even a part of the Confederacy? So why are we honoring a general who was a traitor to his country by seceding and proceeded to lose the war anyway?

— “Akayla Mazza,” June 22

It's Lake Roland. It's a park.

Lake Roland Park makes sense.

— “David Poseidon Dudich,” June 22

Wow, what a well written review, capturing so much of the evening that sounds identical to the show I saw Friday night at Wolf Trap. I went remembering songs from his 'Eat It' and 'I'm Fat' era and was mildly curious about what he was up to these days. I had no idea of his having a comedy album last year, setting a world record when it debuted at #1. It was thrilling when he started singing 'Tacky' from backstage and the crowd recognized via video he was somewhere nearby as he walked across the grounds and went wild when he stepped into the venue. Since then, I've been watching all his videos ('Word Crimes' is so much more listenable than the song it parodies), how funny yet on the mark is 'First World Problems'? 'White and Nerdy'—hysterical especially when I watched the original video it sends off, 'Ridin' Dirty.' Well, I could go on and on, but I had to watch some interviews too, and he seems like a really nice person too. How brilliant is he when most people have a dreadful fear of humiliation, and he makes fun of himself and does it for a living for 40 years? I can't wait to see him again.

— “MsMaverick,” June 17

This is terrible. They are struggling as it is. Leave them be or bring them help. Don't take away the little they have.

— “Aimee Brewn,” June 27

THIS is the Mayor's solution for homeless citizens, while miles of abandoned houses are waiting for people to call them "homes"?

— “Wayne Clark,” June 26

Sweep just ignores problem. City, @MayorSRB must confront it to alleviate it.

— “@HNRphoto,” June 26

eh, call me when Bojangles, and their biscuits show up.

— “@ekapus,” June 29

I'm. . . really struggling to see what the problem is w/ putting up a gas station on a stretch of Harford that doesn't have one, and has a lot of bars and churches.

— “Chris Margeson,” June 24