Articles

Story of the Week: Gunshots, fisticuffs and fire vs 60 years of history

Hosa Anthony, an African-American man, embraces Soon Hong, an Asian woman, in front of a wall display of mannequins wearing wigs. Anthony, at right, is a wig stylist at Mondawmin Mall's Modern Wigs shop. He's been working at Modern Wigs for more than 20 years. Hong is the store manager and has been there for more than 40 years. The wig store relies on older customers who have been coming to the store for decades.
Photo credit: Mawish Raza

Baltimore’s Mondawmin Mall was the first enclosed mall in the country and one of the first malls to serve a predominantly black, inner-city community. In the Finding America story of the week, Baltimore: The Rise of Charm City introduces us to the people who make up this mall’s stories, and what it tells us about the community surrounding it.

“Mondawmin can’t be defined by a single day. … Mondawmin Mall is defined by people,” the podcast’s host and lead producer Stacia Brown says. “It’s defined by a community that remembers it when it housed more mom and pops than faceless corporate box stores. It’s defined by those moms and pops that tenaciously remain, even as the place gets a little more unrecognizable as its old self every year. And it’s defined by patrons and neighbors that aren’t going to let gunshots, fisticuffs or fire erase 60 years of history.”

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Baltimore: The Rise of Charm City is a 30-minute audio documentary series featuring the oral histories of businesses, landmarks, and neighborhoods in Baltimore City. The production team, including lead producer Stacia Brown and WEAA station collaborator Marsha Jews, travels to various places around the city to interview proprietors, entrepreneurs, historians, students, and other city residents about the memories they associate with each place.