Invisible Boundaries: Walking in Butchers Hill and Middle East

When I came to Baltimore from Washington, D.C. in 2012, my “commute” became a seven-block walk from Butchers Hill to Johns Hopkins. This fifteen-minute walk up Chester Street was a daily reminder of the “two Baltimores” D. Watkins wrote about in a 2014 essay published in Aeon: white Baltimore and black Baltimore with shared and blurred borders.

As a new Baltimore transplant working in public health and community engagement, the walk was fascinating. But it soon brought dissonance. The commute started in what the Baltimore City Health Department’s 2011 Neighborhood Health Profiles considered the Fells Point neighborhood. When I left my front door each morning, birds chirped in the leafy trees and the bright brick houses with their tended and plant-adorned stoops lined shady streets. Despite the cars and buses plowing down Lombard Street, it was quiet and bucolic in an urban kind of way.

Read the entire essay online at Baltimore City Paper.