Late Skate at ‘The Bake’

Honoring King’s Legacy of Compassion and Cooperation


By Tiffany Ginyard, Special to the AFRO

(Updated 01/29/2019) – When skaters gather, 11 p.m., Jan. 19 (due to inclement weather the date was postponed to Feb. 16) at the historic Shake and Bake Center in Upton, it will be for much more than the fun and sport of the skate. It will also be to honor the legacy of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Shake and Bake Skate Committee is hosting this first annual MLK Appreciation event, the first of its kind since the doors of the historic “family fun center” were re-opened in March, 2018, to re-establish Shake and Bake as a hub for community engagement, family gathering and youth empowerment.

“The purpose of this event is to continue raising awareness in the community about what we [the committee] are all about–unifying the residents in the neighborhood with the skate community,” said committee president, Mary Thomas, who is not a native Baltimorean, but has laid down roots in the vibrant skate community comprised of skate clubs, and “rollers” from all corners of the DMV, individuals whose dedication to the art, craft, and camaraderie of roller skating range from six months to 66 years.

The committee has hosted a community outreach event every month since its grand-reopening under the management of Baltimore City Department of Parks and Recreation, including community appreciation night, fundraisers for breast cancer research, neighborhood clean-ups, and holiday dinners for neighborhood residents.

The life of Dr. King was guided by virtues of courageous self-expression, compassion and cooperation, as is the culture of Baltimore’s diverse skate community. These are principles that  not only make for a safe and orderly environment for people to get their roll on, but that translate into a message of peace, harmony and well being outside the rink. It’s a message, Thomas says, the skate community wants to impart to the people in the Upton/Penn-North communities, where The Bake is anchored as a safe haven for young people.

“As long as we keep focused on uniting and not division,” Thomas said of the intention of the MLK Late Skate, and the committee’s overall mission. “People will continue to come together. That’s all we need. Skating is how we do that. Standing on eight wheels and rolling around the rink can be pretty challenging. It was for all of us at one time. And so we unite around getting better.”

The late skate is for adults 21 and over. Tickets are $10. A continental breakfast will be served.