Tearing Down the Wall


On Hillen Rd a couple months ago, you would have seen a giant red brick wall. You probably never thought to ask yourself, why is this wall even here? Now that it’s gone, many are learning about the wall’s history. This wall had been here for nearly 80 years, and on April 11th, 2023, it was torn down.

In 1939, Morgan State went from a private to public school, leading to more black students enrolling and taking courses there. In response to this, white Baltimore homeowners decided to build the red wall (called a “spite” wall) with the purpose of keeping the increasing number of black students in the area out of the white community and shopping center. 

Although plans to build the wall were approved, students at Morgan state continued to fight for their rights. In 1955, they even held a sit-in at Read’s Drugstore, which was right across from the wall. 

“We couldn’t have this symbol of hate staring down every single day. This was an easy decision for us. It was time for us to tear down that hate.” – David Wilson, University President

Residents were enthusiastic about this project, and watched alongside Morgan State students and president Wilson as it was demolished.

This follows a trend of confederate statues being taken down across the country. From July-September of 2020, over 130 confederate statues were taken down after protests against racial injustice led to acts of vandalism and government decrees. Changes like these are part of the momentum that’s confronting America’s history of racism and oppression. 

They did leave a part of the spite wall up, and plans for the future include turning it into a university park to stand as a lasting reminder. The part remaining up will serve as a landmark, so Baltimore’s history is not forgotten or glazed over like it was before.