2018 Baltimore History Middle School Essay Contest

Topic: The Port of Baltimore

In addition to a monetary prize, each student received a trophy and a proclamation from Baltimore City Comptroller Joan Pratt. The first place winner’s teacher, Deneen Moore-McDonald, was awarded a lunch at Ludlow Restaurant in Locust point. Jack Burkert, Senior Educator at the Baltimore Museum of Industry, worked with all four schools to prepare students for the contest. The BCHS committee consisted of Bradley Alston, Matt Crenson, and Chip Markell.

2018 Winners

  • 1st Place prize of $250.00: Talia Brooks

  • 2nd Place Prize of $200.00: Zi'yah Moody

  • 3d Place Prize of $100.00: Zhaniya Harris

  • 4th Place Prize of $50.00: Andrew Webb

  • 5th Place Prize of $50.00: Jason Lindsay

Talia Brooks, Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School

Why is the Port of Baltimore important?

Out of all the historic, crucial and, amazing landmarks Baltimore has one of the most important landmark is the Port of Baltimore. Baltimore has always served as a hotspot for trading and making deals. Not only that, but the port hasn’t always been the same. Overtime the port has had dramatic changes. The port is to huge shipments, coming in and out of the port. For examples its wide range of car shipments. It has served as a big impact during WWII and the war of 1812. Finally, the influence tobacco has had on the port has helped it be known for what it is today.

The port of Baltimore is known for its history of shipping items like Tobacco in and out of it. It started in the 1700’s. 1773 was the year the port was named part of Baltimore City. Maryland is known for its Tobacco so plenty of it was shipped in and out of the port. According to hsmcdigshistory.org 10 million pounds of tobacco was exported from the Chesapeake including the port of Baltimore. The port was Maryland’s access point for tobacco base with England. Other items started to be shipped out. It was the focus point for Baltimore according to msa.maryland.gov.

Also found on msa.maryland.gov: The port started shipping to other countries along with England. Countries like China and France, items from the port started to go global and go to places like South America. The port was especially important during the war of 1812. It was important to protect the port at that time so invaders couldn’t send dangerous items through like bombs. Fort McHenry was built in order to protect the port it was soon modified to make it useful for war.

The Port of Baltimore has had significant changes over time. Found on mdk12.msde.maryland.gov in 1852 The Association of Maryland pilots was created. The Maryland pilots would guide ships in and out of Baltimore. Found on slideplayer.com In 1879 around the time of the Civil war the Baltimore and Ohio railroad made Baltimore the sixth largest port in the world, the city Pier was opened in Baltimore to help take in produce from the eastern shore of Maryland in 1914. In 1944 Bethlehem steel gets ready for shipments for WWII, at the time 47,000 people worked Bethlehem now not even 4,000 people work at that ship yard. The port is important to the economics of Maryland it supports many jobs. In 2006 the port celebrated its 200th birthday. Today the port is 245 years old.

The port of Baltimore is always getting recognition for everything that happens there. In 2017 the port of Baltimore celebrated passing a record. The port handled 38.4 million tons of cargo according to Baltimore.cbslocal.com. There has been a lot of efforts put into the port to help it grow. The Tradepoint Atlantic divested $5 million dollars into the improvement of the port. For the cruise terminal in 2016 $4 million dollars was set in for its improvements, as stated from bizjournals.com.

The port also plays a part in fighting the drug trade. Agency workers work hard to check and clear cargo that comes through the port. The agency is also working hard to catch pests or invasive species that could harm crops or the food industry in Baltimore, As found on bizjournals.com. Unusual findings at the port on Wednesday December 2013 of 128 pounds of cocaine the cocaine was wrapped in Nike coverings so it wouldn’t be found or discovered.

In the port of Baltimore cars are loaded and unloaded from all over the world and overseas. In 2011 Records were set for the port, its auto terminals unloaded 403,679 vehicles in November According to baltimoresun.com. In 2005, a 20 years lease was signed with Mercedes-Benz with the port administration. Few years later BMW did the same and had a 5 year agreement to ship tens of thousands of cars From the port annually. Other cars like Maybach and Ford is also handled in the port. There are car parts shipped all over the world from the port. It is very important to businesses in and outside of Baltimore.

In conclusion, the port of Baltimore has been running since 1773 when it was first named part of Baltimore. It has done a tremendous job checking and securing items at the port. As well as shipping valuable items safely in and out of the port. The port is important to all jobs in Baltimore. The port accounts for 16,700 jobs and $3.7 billion in annual wages, according to state statistics found on the baltimoresun.com. As you can see the port of Baltimore is very important to Baltimore, not only Baltimore but places all around the world.

Zi’yah Moody, Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School

“No state can match the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay, our beaches and farms, or the mountains of Western Maryland, the Port of Baltimore, or the historic charm of every corner of our state”- Larry Hogan. A lot of events have taken place to make the Port of Baltimore what it is today. The history here is unbelievable! Many of which you probably never heard of. The historic charm makes the Port of Baltimore most of its tourist. The Port of Baltimore is indescribable. Itself. Just for how it looks and how it impacts history and the way we live today. I don’t know about anybody else, but I feel like the Port of Baltimore is one the most beautiful places. Not just because I live here but because of the charm of it. For example, slavery and the Port of Baltimore. Also, Frederick Douglass and the water front that also took place here. These are both something you don’t normally hear in social studies. But the time has come to celebrate the great journey of the Port of Baltimore so why not reminisce the history of it.

Like I spoke on before its hurtful that we don’t speak about the history here where we eat and sleep every day. For instance, slavery it’s just a coincidence it took place here. But it’s remarkable we never speak of it. For a half-century before the Civil War, more than a dozen slave traders operated from harborside storefronts along Pratt and adjacent streets. Its was a routine of black men, women, and children in chains. Along Pratt Street to Fells Point, where ships waited to carry them south to New Orleans for auction. It was tragic for families walking the route to the ship know they are going to be separated from their families and not knowing where they would in end up. According to articles.baltimoresun.com, the United States banned the import of slaves in 1808, the domestic slave trade still thrived. As the need for decreased in the Chesapeake area and increased in the deep South where the cotton gin had changed agriculture. Also, between 1790 and 1859 more than 1 million slaves were sold South. Most of them had come from Virginia and Maryland. Also, http://baltimorechronicle.com said, extremely high profits continued to promote the furtherance of the illegal trade for many years. In 1849 reports surfaced indicating that a Baltimore clipper had cleared $400,000 from eleven slave-

Another thing you won’t learn about Frederick Douglass is that he was apart of the Port of Baltimore. Two influential African American men, Frederick Douglass and Isaac Myers were people in an event in the Port of Baltimore history. According to apgnews.com, Frederick Douglass was born into slavery at the Holme Hill Farm near Easton, in Talbot County, Maryland in 1818. He was an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman, and former slave. Isaac Myers was a skilled ship caulker, community leader, and owner of several Baltimore area businesses. The Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Company was founded in 1866 by Myers and 14 other African-American. According to the park exhibit, the company “was a successful enterprise that flourished in Baltimore for 18 years”. Also the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock company employed more than 300 African-Americans. Workers got a salary of $3 per day which was an excellent wage for those times. Myers was also elected president National Labor Union representing African-American unions across the country. In 1882 he became editor of the “Color Citizen” a weekly paper in Baltimore. Lastly in 1888 , he was elected secretary of the Republican Party in Maryland. Today there is a museum that includes a display of a master similar to those made by the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock company. A supply shed that contains reproductions of the tools used by the company to build and repair boats.

This is important because this history makes the Port of Baltimore so special. The charm here had been forgotten because of the violent nowadays. But if you look back on the history of it you see the beauty it always had. The Port of Baltimore is special to me because in my eyes it has the best history. That’s why I love the Port of Baltimore so heavily.

In conclusion happy birthday to the Port of Baltimore. You been around for many years and I gratefully appreciated this city. As you can see you know the history of the slave trade in Baltimore. Also the history of the waterfront. Both of them you hadn’t heard of until now. It’s important to all Baltimorians.

Zhaniya Harris, Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School

The Domino Sugar Company

The Domino’s Sugar Plant roots extend back to William Havemeyer, an English immigrant who worked as a supervisor in sugar cane refinery. His brother Frederick, a former sugar boiler, joined him a few years later, as the two young men saved their money from a business they operated together, and finally established the sugar refinery on Vandam Street in 1807. The land where the refinery was built had been leased from Trinity Church and, soon the brothers were able to purchase the land and expand their business, according to fundinguniverse.com. Each day they boiled and refined raw sugar cane in a small one-room building. By 1816, the Havemeyer Sugar Company had expanded their company to such an extent that they were able to produce almost nine million pounds of sugar yearly.

Domino’s Sugar is the Port of Baltimore’s largest bulk importer, according to a reporter by the name of Holden Wilen. Each day the plant makes approximately 6.5 million pounds of sugar, as stated by the refinery manager at Domino Sugar in Baltimore, Kelly DeAngelo. The plant is about 96 years old and consistently needs infrastructure improvements. Many take pride in seeing the Domino Sugar sign; it’s a reminder of the city’s past and future. The plant is located in the downtown area of Baltimore.

According to Holden Wilen, in 2017, the Domino Sugar Refinery received its largest shipment of sugar ever in the history of Baltimore. They received more than 98 million pounds of raw sugar. The port of Baltimore is now the country’s leading seaport for imported raw sugar cane because of the Domino Sugar plant. The Domino Sugar plant in Baltimore was built back in 1922, however Baltimore’s sugar history expands back to the late 1800’s. The Domino Sugar Refinery has been one of Baltimore’s top highlights since the early 1900’s.

The big red “Domino Sugars” sign, the size of a basketball court gleams from the refinery rooftop and what many say is apart of the skyline. The sign screams Baltimore, that’s why the Domino Sugar is so iconic in our city. The sign is thought by many to be a reminder that people and machines still can produce great things and that the world hasn’t gone entirely virtual. It cost about $100,000 each year to power and keep the vintage tubes in good condition. You can see the sign from I-95, the old Power Plant, and the National Aquarium.

If you were to visit the Baltimore Museum of Industry, you would understand how it reminds many that countless factories haven’t been so lucky. It just displays that the employees at the sugar plant really take pride in what they do and possess the dedication needed to do their job effectively. If this business has been around for over 90 years, it shows that overall they are doing very well. Domino Sugar Refinery is the last major manufacturer still operating in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The plant in Baltimore is the only one in the nation that produces granulated, powdered, brown, flavored, pharmaceutical grade sugars, and other specialty products in different ranges of sizes of packages.

In conclusion, Domino Sugar Refinery is a major part of our city. Thank the Havemeyer brothers for the establishment of this company. It made history when the Refinery received the largest shipment of sugar ever. It is oldest, last remaining, and operating major manufacturers in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The big red and bright “Domino Sugars” sign is the main reason why it is such a major part of Baltimore. This plant is a big of Baltimore’s history, always has been and always will be.

Andrew Webb, Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School

I think the port of Baltimore is very important in history. I think that because back then that’s where people in Baltimore got their supplies from. People back then got wheat and tobacco from other people coming in the port of Baltimore. That’s where people from other colonies delivered things. That’s also where people shipped things out from Baltimore to go to other places.

In the port of Baltimore there are a lot of spots for jobs. For example the cruises in Baltimore. On the port of Baltimore offer plenty of jobs. The jobs are mainly for people who live near the port and mainly people that live around Baltimore. The cruises set a lot of jobs for people in many different areas.

Another place that offers plenty of jobs is Domino sugar. Domino sugar is a huge part of Baltimore’s history. Its been on the port of Baltimore since 1922. And the iconic Domino Sugar sign has been there since 1951. The Domino sugar is still right on the port of Baltimore to this day. The Domino sugar is always shipping out sugar to place all around the world they ship a lot every year.

Another job could also be privateering while on a ship. That’s people who ship things from one place to another. People ship the things from the port of Baltimore. That’s only one way to get from one place to another. The port was also a vey large cargo ship facility in Baltimore.

The cargo facility was a really big part of the land. It took up a lot of space but for a good reason. It was a main part of the port. The port was mainly a trade spot for us and the England colonie. England and us would trade man variety’s of goods.

The port of Baltimore was full of many different types of crops. The people would use them crops to trade and get other goods for the crops. People would also ship crops and other raw materials from the port. The port served as an entry for items to be brought in and for thins to get exported out. People brought in items from all different types of American colonies.

The port was mainly an export for grain from Maryland ad Pennsylvania. It was mainly for grains of wheat that got brought in and out from the port. There was also a lot of other things that were imported and exported. Such as Steel, Fertilizer, Grain, Coal were the things that mainly passed through to trade. The Baltimore Inner Harbor also provided a lot of industries throughout the city.

The port of Baltimore was a really huge importance in the city’s economics. Because many of jobs were offered in the city’s port. Millions of buildings and jobs passed through the port. The port was first incorporated in 1729. And its still there to this day.

Jason Lindsay, Francis Scott Key Elementary/Middle School


All races have ignored the stories of the jail that played the most important role in the U.S. slave trade of the 1800’s. Weeks after the Battle of Gettysburg, on July 24,1863 some union officers let the inmates of a slave trading jail near the Baltimore Harbor go. They found a disgusting thing to look at. In the jail there were 26 men, 1 boy, 29 women, and 3 infants. A man named William Birney which he was part of the U.S. colored troops wrote to his “boss”. “Sixteen men were shackled and one had his legs chained together connected by chains or his waist”.

Out of everyone there was a 4 month old born in the jail and a 24 month old who spent his whole life except for one month behind bars. Freeing the slaves meant the end of a brutal Baltimore Society. Still the story remains Its own except to a couple of historians. Before the Civil War more than twelve slave traders worked drone Harborside store fronts. Some advertised in The Sun and other Newspapers.

In the Articles it was either “5,000 Negroes Wanted” and or ”Negroes! Negroes! Negroes!” In the 1845 City Book, “Slave dealers” are arranged between “Silversmiths” and “soap”. Dealers from different places would come and stay at hotels. While they’re there they would place Articles inside because of they want slaves so bad and can’t find them on their own slaves. Slaves were carried in ships.

The slaves were brought to New Orleans. At the New Orleans stop they set up an auction. Slaves were bought and sold and they had no say in whether they were or were not. Some slaves had family members and stayed with them the whole way to the auction because they knew that they may be split apart from each other. Even though slave importing was banned in the United States, the slave trading grew bigger.

Massachusetts was the first slave holding colony in America and the first slaves were thought to have come into the region between 1624 and 1629. The first African slave trade in the America’s was during the Pequot war. Whoever won the war or defeated the other team got the other slaves and were now their slaves. Pequot Indians attacked European colonist and the Indians that were captured were traded to the West Indies. They were exchanged for African slaves, salt, cotton, and tobacco.

When slaves were taken in doctors would have to examine them and see if they were physically fit. To do this they looked in their mouths, poked at their bodies and made them jump around. If the slaves were not “fit” as the doctors wanted them to be the slaves would either be killed or kept to see if another ship would take them. On the journey across the Atlantic for the African slaves was horrible. It was extremely disease ridden, and many slaves did not survive it.

The slaves were just thrown to the bottom of the ship and had to survive the best way they could. Often, slaves had to wait in the bottom when they weren’t even moving yet. The reason for this is because the slave traders had to get more slaves usually the slave count is 220 to 250 in each ship. Women and children weren’t chained but men were the iron chains were attached to the ships bulwarks. After they ate they went a to a dancing ceremony because they had to stay at the doctors fit level.

On historynet.com in the article it reads, “Abraham Lincoln which he was part of the anti-slavery Republican Party convinced many people that lived in the South that slavery would never be allowed to grow into new places and might be stopped”. During the civil war Abraham gave his famous Emancipation proclamation, which freed slaves that were in countries that were in rebellion. It has been decades since the first mention of the issue in parliament. Very few people decided to defend the trade and those who did made a very large vested interest. Also people that wanted the trade called attention to economic and political reasons to continue it.

In conclusion, the slave trading was before the 1900’s and people just forgot about it. Look at where we are now we come along way. From being slaves to freedom, well it’s a working progress. Slaves were moved all the through the United States even though it was banned. That shows how much power some people had. Also showed not all people should have the power that they’d have now.