In this issue, Arts and Culture Editor Teri Henderson meditates on the works of several homegrown artists, including West Baltimore’s own Ernest Shaw Jr. Those more inclined to follow politics than art might recognize Shaw as the artist of a new portrait of famed civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall, now on display in the Maryland Senate building. The image replaces a portrait of Cecilus Calvert, a white man who helped found this state and who likely held slaves. In the picture, a young Marshall holds an open book, gazing right back at the viewer.
“The figures he paints reflect his subjects’ buoyancy, brilliance, and brightness, as well as their history. The magnitude, the sheer depth of the works, and the boldness of the colors invite the viewer to get close,” Henderson writes about Shaw.
In a world where Black people are still confronted with so many ugly images of ourselves, Shaw’s work disrupts and elevates. I am happy to have it on display on this issue’s cover.
For our news section, I write about a panel I attended that was led by civil rights activist Martin Luther King III, the head of Maryland’s branch of the NAACP, and other notable faces, about what legalized cannabis means for workers and for people of color. The panel was made up entirely of Black and Brown people — people who know well how efficiently this country has worked to keep minorities and the poor out of opportunities to advance economically. The solution to this, the panelists said, was working collectively toward a future where everyone can benefit.
Also in this issue: Dominic Griffin writes about “The Woman King” and “Till.” Baltimore Courtwatch discusses the power judges have over other people’s lives, and we have images from February’s 2023 CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament from photographer Cameron Snell. As always, be sure to check out our calendars and community resource guide.
Welcome to Issue 14.