News / USA

Old Tradition Lives On in Baltimore, Maryland

Old Tradition Lives On in Baltimorei
X
November 14, 2013 10:50 PM
Modern technology and a hastened lifestyle are wiping out many old traditions worldwide. But in the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore, one tradition is fighting to survive and perhaps even to grow. Street merchants who sell fruits and vegetables from colorful horse-drawn carts have disappeared from most U.S. cities, but still can be found in Baltimore. Zlatica Hoke reports there may be more in the future.
Zlatica Hoke
Modern technology and a hastened lifestyle are seeing many old traditions worldwide come to an end, but in the U.S. city of Baltimore, one tradition is fighting to survive, and perhaps even grow. Street merchants who sell fruits and vegetables from colorful horse-drawn carts have disappeared from most U.S. cities, but still can be found in Baltimore. Soon, the city’s streets may be home to even more.
 
Residents of Baltimore are familiar with the traditional call of what are known as arabbers -- street vendors who sell fruits and vegetables from horse-drawn carts.
Twenty-five-year-old BJ Abdullah has been arabbing most of his life. He starts his day by loading his cart with local, freshly bought produce.  
 
"I got cabbage, I got collard greens, I got string beans," calls out Abdullah.
 
Customers can have the goods delivered at their doorstep or go to the cart when they hear the distinct sound. Many of the regular customers are elderly people who cannot walk to the market, while others just find them convenient.
 
"It's convenient, they come to you. You don't have to go out and get it," explains local arabber patron Veronica Cunningham.
 
The origin of the word arabbers could have derived from the 19th century expression "street arabs", referring to people, mostly African-American men, who had access to the port and horses and could start arabbing as a small business.
 
In recent years, the tradition began to decline and some stables have been shut down for building code violations. Animal rights activists also have complained that the horses are poorly treated.
 
In 1994, a preservation society was formed to address these issues and preserve the tradition.  President Daniel Van Allen said recent years have seen a revival of the historic trade.
 
"We've gone, in the past few years, from one to two wagons after one of the stables was shut down for urban renewal, and back up to eight wagons out on the street, and hopefully we'll have four more wagons out on the street next year," said Van Allen.
 
BJ Abdullah said he does not plan to give up his job in any case.
 
"Oh I'm going to keep on going until I can't walk no more. We're gonna be around, we ain't going nowhere. It's been around over a hundred years, this [trade business] ain't going nowhere," said Abdullah.
 
Long hours at work for many Americans and a growing demand for wholesome local produce may put the old Baltimore trade on the road to recovery.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid