Inside a Social Club Where Black Lives Always Matter
Through segregation and Prohibition, from the murder of MLK to the riots after Freddie Gray’s death, Baltimore’s oldest African-American social club has held a proud community together for 111 years and counting.
Photos by Wil Sands
Thursday is karaoke and line dancing night at the Arch Social Club at Baltimore’s infamous intersection of Pennsylvania and North avenues – an area now well known as ground zero for the riots following the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Sitting in his chair “Brother Larry,” Arch Social Club’s unofficial bouncer, reaches past his beer to open the front door for a member. At 92, Larry Washington is the Arch’s eldest living member. A veteran of the Normandy invasion, he has been paying his club dues for more than seventy years and remembers the club’s humble beginnings in its original Arch Street location, just two doors from his childhood home.
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