Longtime residents of the Oliver community in East Baltimore were honored last night for their efforts to improve their community.
"This is a time for the second generation of this neighborhood to give something back to its great people. . . . These are the people who bought houses here and kept the streets clean and told us to stay in school and get an education," Hilton O. Bostick, president of the Oliver Community Association, said at the awards ceremony.
Bostick, who led the drive for an Afrocentric curriculum in Baltimore's public schools, himself was honored for his service to the Oliver community. The curriculum changes that focus on culture and history from an African and black American perspective will be implemented in the fifth grade in September.
Others honored last night were:
* Calvin Weems, the proprietor of Rex's Shoe Repair, Aisquith and Preston streets. He established his business here 12 years ago after retiring from a government job at the Edgewood Arsenal. A 1940 graduate of Carver Vocational-Technical High School, where he learned shoe repair, Weems had previously run a shoe repair shop at McMechen and Brunt streets in the evenings, after his regular job. "Oliver's the best place I've ever worked. It's because of the people here," he said.
* Beatrice Lyon, of the 1600 block of E. Federal St., a 40-year resident of the neighborhood, where she reared four children. Known in the community as "Duke," she is a strong believer in its schools and its residents. "Oliver people are always willing to help each other," she said. A native of Louisa, Va., she moved to Baltimore when she was 14. "This used to be one beautiful neighborhood. I believe that if you work hard, we can bring it back," she said to the audience as she accepted her award.
* Clarissa Oliver, of the 1400 block of Aisquith St., one of 13 children. "We always had good times," she said. She graduated from Frederick Douglass High School when it was the city's only black high school. She has lived in Oliver all her life and has many memories of the neighborhood -- of the Chinese laundries, German candy shops and Jewish stores that were once on busy corners. She recalls pot-bellied stoves in public schools and the branch of retiring Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall's family who lived on Somerset Street.
She had a long career with the Baltimore City Housing Authority in Flag House Courts. She is now a volunteer at Our Daily Bread.
The association also honored Beatrice Meade, Bessie McClinton, Delores B. Sparks, Virginia Horsey and Annette March Grier.
The boundaries of the community are North Avenue, Biddle Street, Broadway and Ensor Street.