HAD THE FAIR Housing Act existed in the 1950s, Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" might have been significantly different.
The Youngers, a fictional family based on Hansberry's, would have had an easier time leaving a Chicago slum area and moving to an all-white neighborhood, improving their standard of living and helping their dreams come true.
Such was the connection Francis Scott Key graduate Kim Mathias made in the essay that won her a $500 scholarship from Carroll County Association of Realtors.
"We were to write about how much we knew about fair housing," Kim said of the contest that Francis Scott Key's yearbook adviser, Christine Miller, encouraged her to enter. "That sounded pretty boring to me, so I thought I'd spruce it up with allusions to the book."
Members of the Realtors association loved her three-page essay, which concluded, "As time passes, hopefully the Fair Housing Act will prevent dreams from being deferred, and help dreams flourish for success."
"I was very excited" about winning the scholarship, Mathias said, adding she will use the money toward tuition at Western Maryland College, where she intends to study biology and environmental science in the fall.
Kim, the daughter of Harriet and Joe Mathias of Uniontown, read her essay to a sizable crowd at the Realtors Fair Housing Forum on May 20.
The daylong conference, which discussed fair housing issues in the real estate market, also included speakers from organizations including the Westminster Housing and Community Development office to the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
"I spent lots of time with it and worked pretty hard on it," Kim said of her essay. "I'm glad it was time well-spent."
Grab a good read
The Westminster branch of Carroll County Public Library will sponsor its annual book sale from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the park outside the Main Street branch.
Used books, videos, cassettes and compact discs will be for sale.
Amy L. Miller's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.