East Side Story: Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and the AFRO American Newspapers Celebrate East Baltimore, is a play that celebrates the ongoing relationship between East Baltimore and Johns Hopkins. It depicts, through the use of vignettes, historical marks along the way to the vibrant partnership now enjoyed.

“East Side Story highlights and evokes the connectedness between Baltimore City and the development of Johns Hopkins,” said Alonza LaMont, the play’s director.

And it does so through the talents of three actors, Yakima Rich, Tyrone Requer and Tucker Foltz, who play 11 characters throughout the presentation.

The dramatic scenes were inspired by historical images from the AFRO archives, images digitized by a scanning robot created by Thomas Smith, manager of Project Gado. In an effort to provide public access to the archives, the AFRO entered into a partnership with Johns Hopkins to enlist the aid of their students.

“The people became real to me. When I read a textbook it can seem very far away and detached,” Mary Banks, one of the Hopkins interns, said on the JHU website. “But when you start seeing the articles, it gives you a chance to have the people come to life as real people and real stories, and these were the adversities that they had to overcome.”
To date, the robot has scanned more than 30,000 images that constitute a small part of the coverage the AFRO has provided during its 120 years.

The play, which is free and open to everyone, will be presented 5 p.m., Nov. 5 at Sheldon Hall, 615 N. Wolfe St. in Baltimore. Following the play, a reception will be held in the Bloomberg School of Public Health lobby.