Stories about the exploits of a group of Baltimore leaders known as the Goon Squad have circulated for years. For those who might not know, the Goon Squad consisted of Black activists who came together to address the myriad issues and challenges the city’s Black residents confronted in the 1960s and 1970s.
The members included Walter P. Carter, Rev. Wendell H. Phillips, Rev. Frank L. Williams, Revs. Vernon and Harold Dobson, Rev. Marion C. Bascom, Congressman Parren J. Mitchell, Professor Augustus “Gus” Adair, Judge Joseph C. Howard, Professor O. Patrick Scott, attorney Lalit Gadhia and Professor Homer Favor.
The discussions also examined the contributions of Black women, including state Sen. Verda Welcome, Juanita Jackson Mitchell and Dr. Lillie May Carroll Jackson.
I thought about how such leaders stood up for one another during times of trouble, including in court. If around today, how would Goon Squad members respond to the criminal prosecution of former Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby? Would they have raised questions about whether she is being unfairly targeted? Would they have asked whether the U.S. attorney could instead be spending these resources to prosecute those who present a greater threat to all of us?
As she walked into the federal courthouse in Greenbelt, I didn’t notice any representatives of civil rights or community organizations. I think such a presence was needed at the courthouse from day one. So, starting Nov. 2, I arrived at the courthouse in hopes that I’ll be part of a platoon to let our former state’s attorney know she won’t be left behind by me and by others who share my opinions about this prosecution.
Haki S. Ammi, Baltimore
Haki S. Ammi is a community organizer and author.