Joe Tropea

Joe Tropea


“The White Masks Inspecting a Prisoner at Detective Headquarters,” Hughes Company Photograph Collection, unknown photographer (possibly James W. Scott), ca.1909, MdHS, PP8-585 / Z9.584.PP8.

Last week we reached out for help understanding a photograph, and wow, did we [Maryland Historical Society] get it. Our photo from the Hughes Company collection traveled far and wide. Different eyes saw different things happening. Speculations, observations, and facts, sent via e-mail and comments, ranged from thinking it was initiation ritual to a theatrical production still.

What do you think is going on in this photograph? “Detective room, Police Department,” Hughes Company Photograph Collection, unknown photographer (possibly James W. Scott), ca.1910, MdHS, PP8-585 / Z9.584.PP8

The past creates our present. The struggle for media justice is undergone not only to inform us today but also so that our voices can inform tomorrows. But, while they say a picture is worth a thousand words, what if your voice doesn't actually speak for a reality that was? Our friends, over at the Maryland Historical Society, are in a constant process of uncovering and preserving what has been of our local history. They maintain a blog, underbelly, that logs these adventures. We give you their latest exploration into understanding the past -- since, well, it's fascinating -- and because we can build sound future societies if we don't know the foundation(s) we build upon.

Raymond Santana Jr., Sarah Burns, and David McMahon at a screening of "The Central Park Five" at The Brown Center. - Baltimore, MD. Photo By: Joe Tropea

Here’s a story the media got wrong. The one about the 28-year-old Wall Street investment banker who went jogging one night, in the Harlem end of Central Park, and was brutally beaten, raped, and left for dead. The alleged perpetrators were quickly flashed before the public on every front page and television screen—they were five African-American and Latino young men, who admitted their guilt in videotaped confessions. It’s a story the police got wrong, too.

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Eugene Jarecki’s new documentary, The House I Live In, explores America’s drug war, a conflict that has dragged on officially for more than 40 years. More of a phenomenon than actual war, it has cost U.S. taxpayers over $1 trillion and resulted in over 45 million arrests.

The Reallocate to Recreate Rally. Photo By: Casey McKeel

A crowd of over two hundred gathered downtown at the War Memorial Building at 101 North Gay Street two nights after President Barack Obama won re-election. They gathered to hear an assortment of over two dozen elected officials, city bureaucrats, religious leaders, and youth ambassadors speak out. Many were still visibly elated from the recent late-night election victory, but the occasion this evening was a serious one.

More than 45,000 Verizon workers went on strike late Sunday evening, after the global communications company canceled three previously scheduled weekend bargaining sessions with union representatives. As a result, members of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) are walking picket lines from Virginia to Massachusetts.

STRIKE!: Verizon Workers Picket, Demonstrate, and Demand
The Youth Jail: Tactics in Struggle
The House I Live In: An Interview with Eugene Jarecki
The Central Park Five: A Review of Injustice Documented
Masked Mystery
“Facing the Masks”: Masked Mystery Solved