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Baltimore, MD -- 06/21/2018 -- Dr. Julie Rose stands at Homewood Museum, which has an exhibition about slavery. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun Staff) [ ] 3400 N Charles 15 RT/ 3 prk (DSC_7568.JPG)
Baltimore, MD -- 06/21/2018 -- Dr. Julie Rose stands at Homewood Museum, which has an exhibition about slavery. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun Staff) [ ] 3400 N Charles 15 RT/ 3 prk (DSC_7568.JPG) (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

In his June 22 Sun column, “Exhibit looks at city’s role in slave trade,” Jacques Kelly references former Enoch Pratt Free Library staffer Ralph Clayton’s 2002 book “Cash for Blood.” Mr. Clayton’s writing depicts Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area as sacred ground where “countless thousands of men, women, and children suffered during Baltimore’s darkest hour.”

Baltimore was one of the leading ports for auctioning slaves and shipping them from the Inner Harbor and Fells Point to the Deep South, a process that separated families forever and a destination from which they never returned. Major dealers from Kentucky, Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee built slave pens in the harbor area for holding their purchases until ready for shipping. One cruelly ironic twist pointed out by Clayton is that Joseph Donovan built such a slave pen in the 1850s on the southwest corner of Camden and Eutaw streets where the statue to the white hero Babe Ruth now stands at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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Clayton adds that Inner Harbor tourists should have more tangible reminders of the “price so many paid in blood and broken hearts on Pratt Street.”

Paul H. Belz, Lutherville

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