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8 Baltimore Natives Proving The Predominately Black City Is More Than “Rats & Rodents”

By Stephanie Ogbogu

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Recently, Donald made claims about the city of Baltimore that did not sit well with the African American community nationwide. Baltimore, which is 63% Black, was described as a “disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess” by the President of the United States.

While the president didn’t have many good things to say about the city, there are many people from Baltimore that prove him wrong. In fact, here’s a list of 8 Baltimore natives that are elevating the city in major ways.

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a journalist and award-winning author. He wrote the #1 New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me and is also the writer of a Black Panther and Captain America comic book series for Marvel.

Jada Pinkett-Smith

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Remember today the crown is yours✨

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Besides being one of our favorite black actresses, Jada Pinkett-Smith is a singer-songwriter, screenwriter, and businesswoman. She’s given back to her hometown of Baltimore on several occasions. Through the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation, she donated $1 million to the Baltimore School for the Arts,  her alma mater.

Amy Sherald

Amy Sherald is Baltimore-based painter best known for her portrait work. In 2018, Sherald painted the iconic portrait of Michelle Obama for the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. 

Cab Calloway

You may remember Cab Calloway from his stint at Harlem’s Cotton Club during the 1930s, but the iconic jazz musician grew up in Baltimore, where he began taking private voice lessons in 1922 as a young boy.


W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois is a huge part of African American history that you should know. The civil rights activist, author, and historian was not born in Baltimore but lived there for some time. Before becoming one of the founders of the NAACP, Du Bois was the first African American to earn a doctorate and later became a professor of history, sociology, and economics at Atlanta University. 

Nicole Ari Parker

Before becoming an actress, Nicole Ari Parker was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. Parker, along with her husband Boris Kodjoe, started a fund to raise money to combat spina bifida, a common neural tube birth defect that affects the brain and/or spine in an average of eight babies a day.

Robin Quivers

Robin Quivers is a long-running news anchor and co-host of The Howard Stern Show. Robin is one of the most popular female radio hostesses of all time. She was born in Pikesville, a suburb of Baltimore.

Henrietta Lacks

You can thank Henrietta Lacks for many of the advances in modern medicine that we have today. Born in 1920 and relocating to Baltimore in 1941, Henrietta Lacks’ cancer cells are the source of the HeLa cell line, the first immortalized human cell line and one of the most important cell lines in medical research.  An immortalized cell line reproduces indefinitely under specific conditions, and the HeLa cell line continues to be a source of invaluable medical data to the present day.

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