After he had spent elementary and middle school in special-education classes, Eddie's outbursts brought him into the psychiatric ward of Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital. He was released after eight months, however, because doctors concluded he was not mentally ill. No medication would improve his behavior.
Instead, Eddie lived for six years at the National Children's Center in Washington with children who had Down's syndrome, autism, retardation and other developmental disabilities. The state of Maryland paid for his care because it did not have a similar long-term facility.
When Eddie turned 21, the state placed him in a supervised apartment in Woodlawn where his destructive outbursts began to occur more frequently. Several times, police drove him to the psychiatric units of local hospitals.
In November 1994, two weeks after Ed Chance retired from his 34-year career at Spring Grove State Hospital, his son was admitted there.
The psychiatric social worker's quest to find the right care for his child would only grow more complicated. Following several violent outbursts, Eddie was placed in the hospital's forensic ward. Then he attacked a nurse who filed charges against him.
Because Eddie is considered extremely dangerous and unpredictable by the hospital's doctors, he has been placed in leg and arm restraints for long periods of time.
Ed Chance disputes the doctors' characterization of his son as well as his treatment. He does not believe Eddie belongs in a mental hospital and thinks the restraints have been used far longer than necessary.
At 65, the former civil rights activist has acquired the pained expression of those preoccupied by unsolved problems. He remains slender, intense and focused: Talk about the past quickly leads back to the subject of his son. Chance is waging his most difficult campaign so far.
He has discussed Eddie's situation with politicians, attorneys, reporters, ministers and comrades from the '60s.
The question he raises is always the same: By not offering Eddie treatment specifically geared toward his disabilities, is the state violating his child's human rights?
Chester Wickwire hunches over the phone book on his desk, looking up names. As chairman of the Maryland Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, the 84-year-old activist is marshaling forces to examine how the police and courts treat Korean-Americans in Baltimore. He calls 40 or so Korean-American stores to invite the owners to air their concerns at a public forum.
Later, he drives his red Ford Explorer through litter-strewn neighborhoods where kids open fire hydrants and flood the sidewalks in front of Korean-American stores. He listens while the owners complain that police look the other way when dealers sell drugs inside their businesses.
It is the week before Wickwire learns he must have a pacemakerimplanted in his chest. Over the years, the silver-haired civil rights activist has endured several operations as well as the strain of the polio that affected his shoulders and his back, severely weakening his right leg and left arm. But nothing has slowed him down.
The year after the victory at Gwynn Oak, he headed a statewide committee to stop George Wallace in his bid for the presidency. When the Alabama governor traveled through Maryland to rally support, the minister arranged for a truth squad from Alabama to follow him.
In 1968, when race riots ripped the fragile seams joining Baltimore's black and white communities, Wickwire stepped forward to help repair the damage. He denounced Gov. Spiro T. Agnew's blaming of the city's black leadership for the civil disorder. He assembled a group of white Baltimoreans, including future housing commissioner M. Jay Brodie and future senator Barbara Mikulski, who took out full-page newspaper ads pledging to "change white attitudes and promote social reconstruction."
That summer, Wickwire set up a Freedom School to educate whites about black literature, the psychology of racism, the black power movement and racial employment patterns in Baltimore.
In the 1970s, the chaplain became the only white minister to serve as president of Baltimore's Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. But he did not limit his activism to black/white issues. He also defended students' right to protest the Vietnam War, visited conscientious objectors and gave shelter to American Indians on their Long March to Washington.
And at a time when many of his contemporaries had already retired, Chester Wickwire began leading groups of faculty on human rights missions to El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras.
"I have had difficulty not going ahead and getting involved in things." His voice is slightly flat, common-sensical. "I try to live my life to be responsible with a certain amount of abandon. You don't have to count the cost all the time, you just go out and do what's right. And that's what I try to do. I'm just trying to keep the ball in play."