“A Segregated Baltimore: Reflections of 1950–1960”

When the Supreme Court struck down school segregation in 1954, James Griffin was wrapping up his military service prior to enrolling at Johnson C. Smith University (Charlotte, N.C.) and before continuing on to Boston’s Sargeant College for his degree in physical therapy, thereby becoming the first African-American licensed to practice in the state of Maryland. More importantly, however, he was becoming a major activist in the civil rights struggle here in Baltimore, particularly in the area of public accommodations, public education and in community organization. His efforts as an appointee to the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners (1968-1974) and as chairman of Baltimore CORE (Congress of Racial Equality, 1963-69) led to major changes in the city. Other appointments included Board member of Baltimore City Model City Agency and a gubernatorial appointment as Equal Opportunity Specialist for the State of Maryland. He led demonstrations against injustice and racial segregation. He will share his recollections of this momentous period in the history of Baltimore.

James Griffin is a licensed physical therapist. He operated four offices (Griffin Associates, P.A.) in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area, and was a chartered and active member of CHARM, which provided employment and training to young African Americans looking to become therapists. An outstanding high school and college track star, he enjoys making presentations to groups on healthy eating habits and the importance of exercising. Got a tennis racket? He will meet you on the court. Visit his home: he’ll serve you his specialty – freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juice. He is a member of Bethel AME Church, a life member of the NAACP, is president of the Fairmount Neighborhood Association and serves on the Board of Directors of Sojourner Douglass College. He and his wife Cardrienne P. Griffin have been married fifty-six years. They are the proud parents of four adult children, eight grandchildren and a 1-month old great-grandchild.

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