“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Druid Hill Park in Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

A Sense of Sanctuary

A Safe Place for Friendly Competition and Open Discussion for Social Change

A Sense of Sanctuary Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Christopher Busta-Peck, May 4, 2008
1. A Sense of Sanctuary Marker
From 1909 to 1951, in the days of an unwritten "Jim Crow" segregation policy, the Parks Commission of Baltimore maintained "separate but equal" facilities. Druid Hill became the sole park city-wide where the African-American community felt welcome in a recreation complex which included a picnic grove, playground, swimming pool and five tennis courts.

In 1948, the Young Progressive of Maryland and the Baltimore Tennis Club, held an inegreated match on the "white" Conservatory courts in Druid Hill Park. As 500 people looked on, the police arrived and ordered the march halted. When the players sat down in protest, they were arrested. The court case argued that the protesters were challenging the constitutionality of separate facilities based on race. The Appeals court upheld the conviction and the Supreme Court then refused to hear the case. But this challenge was an important chapter in the stormy end of segregation in this country.

The program of segregated facilities in Baltimore was continued as late as 1950, when improvements to the Number Two Pool at Druid Hill were financed. But by 1955, the Parks Commission
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announced a new policy of integration of all City facilities and in June, 1956, integrated pools were opened to the public.

In this place, we honor the many park users who vividly recall their personal experiences durign the years of segregation. Please respect this memorial to the African-American community.

The Druid Hill Park courts were home to legions of local tennis greats. Top men's singles players included Warren Weaver, John Woods, Irvington Williams, and Douglas "Jocko" Henderson. A few of the outstanding women players were Evelyn Scott, Nellie Brisco, and Evelyn Freeman, who was women's singles champion of 1949 and 1950, and rates by the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper as one of the top ten woman players in the country.

The pool, grove and tennis areas was designed as a memorial landscape to honor the memory of segregation and the struggle to overcome it. Working with project landscape architects and architects, African-American artist Joyce J. Scott designed the papvign pattern of the walkway through the grove and around the former pool. The pattern of meandering coiled and woven rope is based upon traditional African motifs symbolizing tranquility, safety and connections to community. The wave pattern on the roof of the men's changing building symbolizes water. The columns at the entry plaza mark the corners of the field house. The
A Sense of Sanctuary Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), December 10, 2022
2. A Sense of Sanctuary Marker
Unfortunately, the marker has weathered significantly.
pool scupper, ladders and chair framework remain as elements of pool use.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil RightsSports. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1956.
Location. 39° 19.329′ N, 76° 38.404′ W. Marker is in Baltimore, Maryland. It is in Druid Hill Park. Marker can be reached from Grove Road. Marker is in Druid Hill Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Baltimore MD 21217, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. American Tennis Association, Inc. (within shouting distance of this marker); "…And Oh, We Had Fun" (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Family Matters (about 700 feet away); An Innovative Partnership (approx. 0.2 miles away); African Savannah Elephant (approx. 0.2 miles away); Living with Elephants (approx. 0.2 miles away); Tipping the Balance (approx. 0.2 miles away); Saving Okapi (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baltimore.
A Sense of Sanctuary Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Christopher Busta-Peck, May 4, 2008
3. A Sense of Sanctuary Marker
The pool site, as described on the marker, is to the far right.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 11, 2022. It was originally submitted on May 4, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. This page has been viewed 3,149 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on May 4, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.   2. submitted on December 11, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   3. submitted on May 4, 2008, by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.

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Sep. 27, 2023