Book Talk: Front Stoops in the Fifties: Baltimore Legends Come of Age with author Michael Olesker
March 9, 2014 1:00pm
Program included with Museum admission
Join us as author Michael Olesker discusses his newest book, “Front Stoops in the Fifties: Baltimore Legends Come of Age,” which takes us back to America’s post-war years, a time of relative innocence, when people gathered all night long at the Hilltop Diner, and left their front doors unlocked, and filled their cars with gas at 29 cents a gallon.
Mr. Olesker will explore the tumultuous period in Baltimore as the 1950s comes to an end through Nov. 22, 1963, the day John Kennedy is murdered in Dallas. He will speak about specific people in Baltimore, and how they reacted that day, and how the country changed: the 1950s are recalled as a relatively innocent time, while the 1960s was all about convulsions – assassinations, wars, riots, great social change, good and bad.
But much of that change was simmering just below the surface in the 1950s, and some of the people who would go on to profoundly change the country were coming of age in Baltimore. Among them were Nancy Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House, whose father was mayor of Baltimore in the ’50s; Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Mitchell Jr., who both came out of west Baltimore and changed the course of racism in America; Jerry Leiber, one of the legendary song writing pioneers of the brand new music called rock and roll; and Barry Levinson, who would go on to direct Academy Award winning movies, including one Vanity Fair called “the most influential movie of the last 40 years – “Diner,” about the old Hilltop Diner in Baltimore.
Michael Olesker is a graduate of Baltimore City College and the University of Maryland. Later he wrote columns for Baltimore Magazine and Baltimore’s Jewish Times. “Front Stoops in the Fifties” is his sixth book and comes out of meticulous reporting and interviewing, and the experience of several decades a daily newspaper columnist for both the News American and the Baltimore Sun, and nightly TV news commentator for WJZ-TV’s Eyewitness News.