Baltimore was a major war production center in World War II. The biggest operation for assembling aircraft was Bethlehem Steel's Fairfield Yard. Even larger was Glenn Martin, an aircraft plant located 10 miles (16 km) northeast of downtown. Around 1943, between 150,000 to 200,000 migrant war workers had arrived, coming from Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Father John F. Cronin's early confrontations with Communists in World War II turned him into a leading anti-Communist in the Catholic Church and the US government during the Cold War. In 1950, the population of the city grew to 950,000 people. Integration of Baltimore's public schools at first went smoothly, as city elites suppressed working-class white complaints, as white families migrated to suburban school systems. By the 1970s new problems had surfaced when formerly white schools became mostly black schools. The school system had become dependent on federal funding. In 1974, these circumstances led to two dramatic incidents. A teachers' strike that was looking to get a salary's raise and a crisis revolved around a federally mandated desegregation plan that threatened to alienate the remaining white residents.
In the late 1950s, Martin Luther King, Jr. and his national civil rights movement inspired black ministers in Baltimore to mobilize their communities in opposition to discrimination. The churches were crucial in keeping lines of communication open between the geographically and politically divided middle-class and low-class. In the 1950s and 1960s, racial politics intensified in Baltimore. White Southerners came to the city for factory jobs during World War II, permanently altering the city's political landscape. The new arrivals approved of the segregated system that had been in effect since the early 20th century. Between 1950 and 1990, Baltimore's population declined by more than 200,000. The center of gravity shifted from manufacturing and trade to service and knowledge industries, like medicine and finance.
Information sourced from Wikipedia. Cover Image by Charles Fenno Jacobs and sourced through Wikipedia and available on the Public Domain.