Finding Their Voice: Mill Stories in the Baltimore Sun

Dinah WinnickDinah Winnick is UMBC’s senior communications manager for research.

Congratulations to UMBC’s Mill Stories team on their tremendous work documenting the history of Baltimore’s Sparrows Point Steel Mill community through the past semester. We were so proud to see their work highlighted in the powerful Baltimore Sun web feature on Sparrows Point earlier this month.

Two classes participated in the Spring 2013 collaborative project supported by BreakingGround. AMST 358 Cultural Documentation in Partnership with Communities focused on cultural research and documentation within the communities that have been shaped by the Sparrows Point Steel Mill for over a century. Students explored the ideas, techniques and ethical considerations that underpin community-based qualitative research. They became familiar with the challenges of post-industrial economic and social transition and ideas of community cohesion, sense of place and sense of belonging.

Intercultural Video ProductionStudents in MLL 495/695 Intercultural Video Production focused on creating short digital stories based on community interviews, supporting participants in telling their stories in their own words.

Students learned about diverse aspects of Sparrows Point culture and residents’ experiences, from union participation, to the intricacies of making steel and operating cranes, to experiences of segregation and gender discrimination. View the “Mill Stories” on UMBCtube to see the fruits of their labor.

Contact the author, Dinah Winnick, at

Students ‘Mapping Baybrook’

Collin Wojciechowski ’13, political science and media and communication studies, served as the sole student member of the University System of Maryland’s governing Board of Regents, 2011-2012.

Curtis Bay, nestled at the southernmost point of Baltimore City is where my ancestors immigrated from Poland in 1904. It’s where my grandparents grew up, and it’s what I dream of when I think of community.

It was a place where hard working blue-collar people made their living and their homes. Classic Baltimore row homes sat against a backdrop of factories and cranes that dotted the waterfront, and the beer was always cold when the work day ended. There was one movie theater, one bowling alley, one pharmacy, and a youth baseball game was the hottest ticket in town on a Saturday night. People cared for each other and looked out for one another. They volunteered to snuff out tyranny at the dawn of the Second World War and returned home to build this country to what it is today. They were the backbone of America. The persevering prevailing force. The salt of the earth. [Read more…]