The Bold and the Brilliant: Six Baltimoreans Who Changed Everything
edited by Ron Cassie
Published January 15 in Baltimore Magazine
Excerpt: The idea behind our January cover story, which pays homage to a collection of once-in-a-lifetime trailblazers—Hayden, Mikulski, Brooks Robinson, John Waters, Joyce Scott, and Kurt Schmoke— whose impact has been felt well beyond the city, had been kicking around for some time. The purpose isn’t to bask in nostalgia. Remarkably, most of our cover subjects are still keeping schedules that would exhaust someone half their age. But rather: recognition, understanding, and inspiration. The coming of a new year is, traditionally, a liminal moment of reflection and resolution as we look forward. Who better to learn from than this wildly diverse group?
Together, they are a set of extraordinarily accomplished, yet completely different personalities, by turns provocative, principled, cerebral, compassionate, feisty, funny, resilient, self-deprecating, over-the-top, and—the qualities closest to the hearts of Baltimoreans—loyal and unpretentious.
They each charted a unique, purposeful, and often applecart-upsetting path. John Waters’ outrageous perversion of outdated morality codes with films like Pink Flamingos may spring to mind, but so should then-social worker Barbara Mikulski’s battle against City Hall to save her beloved Fells Point. As should Kurt Schmoke’s courageous stance against the War on Drugs and public-health-centered approach to treating addiction and other city ills.
Meanwhile, the work of the rebellious and irrepressible Joyce Scott, who has described herself as a “true Baltimore babe and Sandtown girl,” can be found in major institutions, from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum. A spiritual force of nature, she is an outspoken social justice warrior and the city’s greatest living visual artist.