By Rev. Dorothy S. Boulware, Special to the AFRO

Former Clean Blockers and guests who gather, Aug. 13, at the Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore, Md., to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the country’s oldest environmental programs will also get the first peek at the long-awaited, much-teased, “The Thing I Love About Baltimore,”  The writers, who were thrilled to donate their skills and ideas to AFRO Charities, couldn’t wait to tell the world about their love for Baltimore.

U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, who contributed the foreword and is also the speaker for the celebration, heartily endorses the work and the idea of focusing on the positives of our city, while working just as hard to meet the challenges it faces to make it the city we all want it to be.

“I applaud the AFRO’s decision to celebrate its own anniversary by encouraging the people of our city to express their pride of community,” Cummings said in the book’s foreword. “True to its tradition of lifting up our people, the AFRO saw the importance of our sharing with each other – and the world – all that is noble and good about Baltimore: why we love our hometown with such passion.”

This archive photo of an AFRO Clean Block Campaign illustrates the pride and dignity of Baltimore. Congressman Elijah Cummings has been a champion for the city and her people his entire career in public service. Amid recent racist attacks by the 45th president of the United States, Cummings continues to lead and serve with integrity. He is the keynote speaker for the 85th anniversary of AFRO Clean Block, the nation’s oldest environmental program. Visit www. for more information about how to be a part of this momentous celebration.

For the AFRO, “The Thing I Love About Baltimore” project is a first of its kind, but not really new. Since its founding over 127 years ago, the AFRO has told its neighbors’ stories, detailed economic and political struggles, and proclaimed the milestones accomplishments of its readers. It has always positioned itself as a friend, an advocate and a forthteller for Baltimore.

The authors collectively took on this mission and handled it with their own unique gifts and expertise.

The Winslow Dynasty, as Dontae and Mashica along with their two sons are known, examined the city through their artistic kaleidoscope.

“We love that Baltimore produced greatness that has influenced the world through the excellence of: Eubie Blake, Cal Ripkin, Billie Holiday, Edgar Allan Poe, Reginald F. Lewis, Thurgood Marshall, Billy Murphy, Gary Thomas and Dennis Chambers,” they wrote. “Although Cab Calloway was born in New York, he made his indelible impact on the world of culture and music growing up in Baltimore.”

Baltimore’s self-proclaimed “Indie Mom of Comedy” MESHELLE. (Courtesy Photo)

Baltimore’s self-proclaimed “Indie Mom of Comedy” MESHELLE continued the artistic expression on the funny side.

“As a kid in Park Heights, I knew the Preakness was something special, but I had no clue it was an international phenomenon, a jewel in the Triple Crown,” said MESHELLE. “All I knew was that a ton of fancy dressed “White folks” would pay top dollar to park in our back yard on Belvedere Avenue, directly across from Pimlico Race Track.”

And who doesn’t love and respect the power couple, Ralph and Dana Moore, who live in the “Painted Ladies” on Guilford Avenue. They wrote about a few of their favorite restaurants but focused on the universal love they experience along with the delicious food.

Larry Young, award-winning radio talk show host on WOLB at Urban One, wrote his chapter as a travel journal for a prospective visitor – projecting a whirlwind weekend trying to fit in everything that is wonderful about the city and its landmarks.

Jazz singer, teacher, philanthropist Brenda Alford said, “The soul of my beloved Baltimore thrives through joy and pain, through boom and bust, through riot, rage and renaissance. This is what I love about Baltimore.”

It’s what we all love about Baltimore

Contact Diane Hocker at 410-554-8243 to secure tickets (discounted for former Clean Blockers) for the 6 p.m., August 13 event, as long as they last. The $20 book, “The Thing I Love About Baltimore,” that can be purchased at the Clean Block event is currently available for purchase through CashApp at $DorothyBoulware. It is also available after August 13 at the front desk of the AFRO office. Call Wanda at 410-554-8200 for more information. Autographed copies will be sent as soon as possible.