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Abandoned rowhome turned into Tubman House

Posted at 6:08 PM, Apr 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-12 18:08:21-04

A West Baltimore community came together Tuesday to mark one year since Freddie Gray’s arrest.

But it was also a celebration of the grand opening of the Tubman House.  It’s an abandoned row home, given a new life, which residents say will spur change.

"This is an abandoned row home," said Taalib Saaber, member of the Friend of a Friend organization.

Located near the intersection of Mount and Presbury streets in West Baltimore, it's the very spot where Freddie Gray was arrested a year ago.

"We have to make sure that his life was not given up in vain," Saaber said.

Now, the Tubman House will stand not just as a reminder of that day, but as a place of hope and growth.

"This is a food desert so we'll do some gardening for the children and we've opened up the center to where we can teach classes that way you can teach self-governance.” Saaber said.

It's governance the community hopes will bring about change in a neighborhood they say has been overlooked.

"Communities around the nation have been suffering like Chicago, LA, Miami, wherever you go. Urban communities, black communities have been suffering," said Saaber.

The Tubman House is poised to reverse that trend by providing a safe, nurturing and productive place for everyone in the community.

"I think the Tubman house is going to be good if it focuses on young adults learning things like barber, plumbing, maybe carpentry," resident Althea Booze said.

It may also help to heal deep wounds between law enforcement and the community.

"Have the police come to them, come here see what it's all about, make friends and learn them like they’re going to learn the police, not be afraid,” said Booze.

The Tubman House also features a community garden for fresh produce.  The idea is to make residents independent and willing to do the work necessary to keep their neighborhoods from being demolished while preserving the area for future generations.

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