Preservation grant helps tell story of slaves and...


May 24, 1999

Preservation grant helps tell story of slaves and craftsmen

On May 19, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton announced in a White House ceremony preservation grants for 62 historic sites, monuments and objects. Maryland was one of only a handful of states to receive more than one grant.

While Carl Schoettler's May 20 article in The Sun ("Grant assures anthem's future") detailed the high-profile grant to the Maryland Historical Society to encase Francis Scott Key's handwritten manuscript, it overlooked the grant to another of Maryland's treasures: Hampton National Historic Site in Towson.

Hampton's $200,000 federal grant will be added to $400,000 from the state of Maryland and our nonprofit friends group, Historic Hampton Inc., to preserve two of the estate's original farm buildings.

These buildings give voice to Hampton's unsung population of workers -- hundreds of slaves, indentured servants, and skilled craftspeople and their families -- who have long been overshadowed by the site's more grandiose mansion.

The grant-funded repairs will allow us to open the farmhouse (built around 1725) and one slave quarters to tours and programs for the public.

We will now be able to tell the Hampton story of 200 years of race and class relations from multiple points of view.

The National Park Service is thrilled at the combination of public and private funds. As Mrs. Clinton said during her remarks at the White House, "Preservation efforts succeed when there are a multitude of partners."

Kathryn D. Cook Baltimore

The writer is general superintendent of the Fort McHenry National Monument and Hampton National Historic site.

Hopkins still falls short of providing `living wage'

Michael Hill's May 17 article "Demonstrating that protests still work on campus" on the Student Labor Action Committee's Living Wage campaign captured the spirit of student activism at Johns Hopkins University.

Mr. Hill did not fully capture, however, the (mean) spirit of the university's response to the campaign.

Students want Johns Hopkins to adopt the Baltimore City living wage rate immediately ($7.90 per hour in July), pay wages that keep up with inflation and make sure workers get benefits.

The university has only agreed to pay $7.75 by 2002. The real living wage rate by then (at 110 percent of the poverty line for a family) will be about $10 an hour.

Johns Hopkins has 1,000 employees earning poverty wages. Most have no health benefits and many juggle multiple shifts or two jobs.

The living wage is not a number. It is a commitment to wages that keep up with inflation, access to affordable health care and a fundamental respect for the contribution of all employees.

By these standards, the university's announcement that it has adopted the "living wage" is at best misleading.

Jessica Walsh Baltimore

The writer is active in the Johns Hopkins University's Living Wage campaign.

Don't forget midwives, caregivers for many women

Susan Reimer's May 18 column concerning pelvic exams for teen-agers ("Moms need to demystify pelvic exams for daughters") addressed some very important issues. Educating adolescent women about the importance of gynecological health care and preventive care is crucial.

Ms. Reimer, however, failed to mention the role of the certified nurse midwife in providing compassionate care to teen-age women. In addition to attending women at birth, nurse midwives provide family planning and gynecological health care from adolescence through menopause.

Midwives emphasize preventive care and health education and provide sensitive care to adolescents

They are too often forgotten as champions of safe and cost-effective care for women of all income levels.

Eileen Ehudin-Pagano Baltimore

The writer is director of nurse midwifery at the Baltimore Birth Center.

Greed of nursing homes accounts for poor care

Many of the comments Gary Raffel made in his May 8 letter, "Nursing homes need funding to provide quality health care," were appropriate and worthy of consideration.

However, he missed one very important issue: Nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are, for the most part, profit-oriented businesses. As a result, the most glaring problem is greed.

The day of Mr. Raffel's letter, The Sun published in its business section an article about Integrated Health Services paying its chairman and chief executive officer $4 million in salary and bonuses in 1997, and, in 1998, $809,935 in salary alone.

With so much money going to such compensation packages, it's no wonder nursing home fees are so high and patient care is not what it could be.

P. A. Sullivan Towson

Owings Mills mall offers many quality food choices

Michael Olesker's second column ("Food court deal leaves a bitter taste," May 11) about two merchants at the Owings Mills mall's food court was even more biased and outrageous than his first column on the subject ("Rouse deal at food court in mall leaves bad taste," Nov. 3, 1998).

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