Parren Mitchell, Maryland's first black member of Congress, talks about his brother Clarence's reaction to witnessing the lynching of George Armwood in Princess Anne, Maryland in 1933, and about how he became involved in the struggle for civil rights in Baltimore.
The audio clip is from a longer interview with Mitchell, from the McKeldin-Jackson Oral History Project Collection held at the Maryland Historical Society (OH 8170).
All photographs are by Paul S. Henderson (1899-1988) taken in Baltimore, Maryland. The Paul Henderson Photograph Collection is part of the Baltimore City Life Museum Collection held at the Maryland Historical Society.
"I love my brother very much as most people know. And to see him that evening at supper - my family ate all together - to see him not be able to eat because of that...
And the thing that I guess upset me most was that I didn't know what a lynching was. I was a little child.
Whatever the thing was that had hurt him so badly, the fact that he was hurt, really started sparking my interest in this.
Then years ago, it must've been in the late 30s, early 40s... there was something in Baltimore known as the City-Wide Young People's Forum and I remember my brother Clarence taking me there and I was young... but it was a fascinating experience to see black artists, black educators come and lecture, sing.
Out of that City-Wide Young People's Forum, if you know, came the first challenge to the segregation of the University of Maryland Law School, the Donald Murray case.
Out of the participants of that Forum was Thurgood Marshall.
A whole host of... new level of leadership came in to the city as a result of that City-Wide Young People's Forum. Although I was very young at that time, I was old enough to understand exactly what was being said in terms of the discrimination, the racism.
As a result of that, I remember one of my first picketing ventures was at Ford's Theatre, when at that time black people could only sit in that third balcony.
I remember night after night being there on that picket line. The actual ugliness, the hostility on the part of some of the whites across the picket line or who just annoyed us because we were there... and then the encouragement that came from some of the others.
From that point on, it was just one thing after another. Once you got into it, events were breaking pretty fast.
That's the way it happened."