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In Havre de Grace, a tribute to a baseball legend - and the woman behind the statue | READER COMMENTARY

Sculptor Austen Brantley, left, stands with Maj. Gen. Mitchell Kilgo after the unveiling of the Ernest Burke statue in Tydings Park in Havre de Grace Saturday June 26, 2021. (Patricia A. Venturino/Baltimore Sun Media)
Sculptor Austen Brantley, left, stands with Maj. Gen. Mitchell Kilgo after the unveiling of the Ernest Burke statue in Tydings Park in Havre de Grace Saturday June 26, 2021. (Patricia A. Venturino/Baltimore Sun Media) (Courtesy Patricia A. Venturino/Baltimore Sun Media)

On a recent Saturday, my family and I attended the unveiling of the Ernest Burke Memorial Sculpture in Havre De Grace at the Millard Tydings Memorial Park. I knew that 10 years ago, when Camay Calloway Murphy moved to her coastal getaway that Baltimore was losing one of its important gems. I also knew that the folks of Havre De Grace didn’t fully realize how truly special she was. Needless to say, on Saturday, her spirit was in full bloom (”Statue of Negro Leagues baseball player Ernest Burke to be unveiled in Havre de Grace this weekend,” June 25).

I wasn’t surprised that the town would turn out to learn and relive the life, legend and legacy of native son and Negro Leagues baseball player Ernest Burke of the Baltimore Elite Giants. But just as important, to awe in the life, legend and legacy of Camay Murphy and her uncanny ability to make things happen that seem so remote or undoable.

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At 94, Ms. Murphy’s quiet smile was evidence enough of a sense of accomplishment and that she could move on to her next challenge. She’s still a teacher at heart and enjoys teaching and watching folks learn. She has a talent for identifying strengths, as all good teachers do, and gives a gentle nudge to keep you going at whatever you’re doing and sometimes even helps you find where it is that you should be.

A lifelong avid reader, Ms. Murphy has often uncovered little known, but important historical facts that somehow got lost in time and everyday life. And once she finds them, she leaves them like a little memento in your path so they do not get lost again. One day, a child will Google Camay Calloway Murphy and get 15,000 references to almost any subject — art, music or sport — and her teaching will forever continue. Her name is synonymous with excellence.

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Leslie A. Imes, Baltimore

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