Overlooking a clear skyline from their Reservoir Hill home in West Baltimore, a young black professional couple finds themselves squarely in the public eye. They never thought they would have made it this far.
Baltimore native and City Councilman Nick Mosby, 34, and his wife Marilyn, 33, a Boston native, State’s Attorney candidate and former prosecutor, aspire to make a difference in Baltimore—a city they both have high hopes for.
“I grew up in northeast Baltimore—in the Northwood neighborhood with six women in my household,” Mosby told the AFRO. “At a very young age, I always said I wanted to be a public servant in Baltimore City.”
Mosby said his dreams to be a public servant were forged while in the third grade at Yorkwood Elementary School when then Mayor Kurt Schmoke was elected as the first African American mayor of Baltimore.
“I was excited. My mother was excited. My grandmother was excited,” he said.
With an absent father, Mosby was inspired and driven by the women in his life.
“I was the first person in my family to go to college and graduate,” Mosby said.
He told the AFRO his grandmother and mother taught him the value of dreaming and of knowing that “I could be successful.”
“They always pushed me.” But they were taken away from him. First, at14, he lost his grandmother; recently, at age 31, he lost his mother.
Mosby left Baltimore when he enrolled into Tuskegee University, a historically Black university in Alabama, where he met the woman who would become his wife.
Six hours north of Baltimore in Boston the then-Marilyn James, the oldest of two siblings—one brother and one sister—was being raised by grandparents.
“I grew up in the inner city of Boston—Dorchester-raised by my grandfather, grandmother and mother,” she told the AFRO.
They instilled in her at an early age the importance of education, she said.
Her schooldays were long, leaving home at 5 a.m. and not returning until 5 p.m. As part of the local effort to desegregate local schools she was bused far from home.
“It was a busing program—an hour outside of Boston—that was founded in Massachusetts to increase diversity,” she said.
She attended Dover-Sherborn Regional High School, one of only three black girls in the school. “I was very active in high school, I was in the SGA and co-editor of the school newspaper.”
Excelling in high school, performing at an academic pace ahead of some of her friends, she was awarded a scholarship to Tuskegee University; where she met the man who would become her husband.
After losing her cousin when she was 14 to an act of street violence in Boston, she knew she wanted to pursue her education outside the Boston area.
“I wanted to get away from Boston,” she said.
They met on the campus of Tuskegee University in the fall of 1998. Sharing the grief of losing loved ones at an early age, and both being first generation college students, forged a bond between the two.
“When I first met Marilyn, I thought she was really beautiful,” he told the AFRO. “I thought she was really smart and had a strong drive, determination and was very ambitious.”
“I thought Nick was a little obnoxious when I first met him,” she told the AFRO. “He was mister popular, he was Mr. Freshman, Mr. Sophomore and Mr. Junior.”
“When I had the chance to sit and talk to him, I really liked him because he was very intellectual and we talked about a lot of social issues and from then I had a big crush on him,” she said.
He said they dated throughout college and became engaged in 2004.
The councilman journeyed back to Baltimore to jumpstart his career and his wife to be went back to her hometown to attend Boston College Law School.
“I would go to Boston frequently,” he said.
“After law school, I was offered positions in Boston, however since Nick already started his career in Baltimore there was no way I could convince him to move,” she said.
Her interest in the criminal justice system stemmed from the death of her cousin. She said she followed his case and made sure the prosecution went smoothly.
“I knew I always wanted to be a lawyer, it was just a matter of what type of lawyer I wanted to be,” she said.
Still in law school, he brought his fiancé to Bolton Street in West Baltimore and said, “This is where I want to live, this is where I want to raise our kids.”
“My family and friends thought I was crazy when we purchased the home,” he said. In 2004, their neighborhood consisted of several boarded up homes, and vacant properties. He said, “There was a tree growing inside of the house. That’s how bad it was.”
But he insisted and made her look at the potential. He told me, “Everything that we are looking for we can do in Baltimore City.”
In 2004, they purchased the place they now call home, gutting and building it into their dream home—which took two years to renovate.
“We are in a great position, 2004 is very different than what it is today,” she said. “Reservoir Hill is an up and coming community, the history that is in Reservoir Hill, the potential is there.”
She said he saw the potential not just on their block, but also for the neighborhood.
The Mosby’s married Oct. 8, 2005 and have been living in the Reservoir Hill neighborhood for nearly seven years.
“We are very comfortable,” he told the AFRO.
He said, “Purchasing that home is one of the best decisions we made in our lives.”
From time to time, the couple ventures out of their neighborhood. One of their favorite local getaways is their favorite café and lounge, Teavolve, in Harbor East.
Even with a busy schedule that includes a campaign for the state’s attorney’s post, his round-the-clock duties as city councilman, their various community involvements including membership at New Psalmist Baptist Church they make time to spend with their daughters Nylyn, 5 and Aniyah, 3.
For as Marilyn Mosby puts it, “we are doing all of this for them.”