Racist graffiti painted on Rosedale home of Baltimore educator Assistant principal 'completely devastated'

October 12, 1997|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

Racial epithets were found yesterday spray painted on the side of a Rosedale home owned by a Baltimore school administrator, a discovery that surprised and puzzled neighbors in the townhouse subdivision near the city-county line.

The epithets were painted on the home of Martin Hale, 50, assistant principal at Leith Walk Elementary School. He said he was enraged to see a swastika, the words "South Will Rise Again" and "Whity Rulz" and other vulgar racial words scrawled across the side of his 2-year-old home in the 2200 block of Bluegrass Heights Court. He lives alone.

"I'm completely devastated," said Hale, who is black. "I thought this was an ideal place to live, a new development, and to experience this blows my mind."

Hale said he moved into the house in March because he thought the area was quieter than the Baltimore neighborhood where he had lived.

Police said they had no leads yesterday afternoon but were canvassing the neighborhood.

"Obviously we're taking this seriously," said Sgt. Jack Markert of Baltimore County police. "This is a serious crime, it's more than just someone spray painting circles or something."

Neighbors said they believed that someone must have spray painted the slurs between 5 a.m. -- when several residents arrived home from their third-shift jobs -- and 7: 15 a.m., when a neighbor pointed out the epithets to Hale.

As a dozen of Hale's neighbors stood on the corner and talked about their neighborhood, dump trucks rumbled down the street and construction workers spread asphalt where several more houses will be constructed.

The Rosedale area is a mainly white community; most minority residents live in Bluegrass Heights Court, a relatively new development of 45 rowhouses, according to residents and police.

Ten more homes are planned for the neighborhood, neighbors said.

Residents said they have never seen anything like this before.

"It's not like we're deep rooted in the white part of the county," said Eloise Jones, 39, who lives next to Hale. "We're right next to the city border. This gives you a lot to think about."

Residents in the older neighborhoods near Bluegrass Heights Court said they couldn't believe someone would write such things. And several said they thought it could be a hoax.

"I've lived here nine years and never seen a conflict between blacks and whites," said Benjamin Davella, 65, of Crossett Road, who was taking his grandson, Christian, 3, for a walk. "Some kids in [Bluegrass Court] could have written it to get attention."

Wendy Johnson, 33, who was the second person to move into the Bluegrass Heights Court development, said she is not aware of other racial incidents.

Johnson said that although she is worried about property values if potential buyers see the graffiti, the incident might pull the community together.

"Look at everybody. Everybody cares about this," she said, nodding toward the onlookers. "We were on the verge of forming a community association. Maybe this will draw us together."

Pub Date: 10/12/97

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