Hailing from East Baltimore, Lucille Gorham has dedicated a considerable amount of time to serving her community and helping people. She first began work in the community as an advocate for the AFRO American Newspapers’ Clean Block Program in 1945. The program assembled local churches and residents to ensure the cleanliness and safety in the neighborhood. 

Applying the knowledge she gained from the Clean Block program, Gorham guided another project which addressed the problem of rats, roaches and chinches on Baltimore’s streets. Since there were no city services to assist at that time, Gorham and other organizers addressed the problem head-on.  Drawing from the experiences she gained in both of these community projects, Gorham later became a community activist.

It was rarely a time when something would occur in East Baltimore without Gorham knowing about it. Constantly involving herself wherever she could, she became the go-to person to voice the concerns of the community. 

Gorham worked closely with city government and many local organizations including City Hall, Johns Hopkins Hospital and its medical institutions, Baltimore City Health Department and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, among many others. Gorham also worked with the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, a cause she’d been championing since the ’60s, when the public was not fully aware of its dangers. 

Since Gorham was forced to retire in 2006, she is no longer actively involved in activism in Baltimore, but she still has an interest in the improvement of the community. Her legacy and passion for the development and improvement of Baltimore will be felt for years to come.

On Feb. 14, The AFRO honored Gorham for her community activism at the company’s fifth annual Legends and Pioneers ceremony at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum.