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Historic Oliver

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Historic Oliver's March Community Meeting

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

National Great Blacks in Wax Founder

Baltimore Oliver Community Association, BOCA hosted its 2nd community meeting of the year at the new Sojourner Place at Oliver building in March. Because March was Woman's Month, we had the honor and pleasure of welcoming "the" Dr. Joanne Martin of the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum. She gave a presentation describing the journey that she and her late husband, Elmer Martin, Jr. who died in 2001, took to start the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, and how it came to be. It was founded in 1983, and moved to Historic Oliver in 1988.

Dr. Joanne Martin - Woman's Month presentation

She described an encounter that her husband had with a young boy who played for a minor league baseball team that he sponsored; the boy did not want to be photographed for fear of looking too "black" in the picture, although this was the post "Black is beautiful" generation. She then went on to describe her international travels to France and Spain with her late husband and how they saw statues of white men everywhere, and how it made him realize that black people should just the same, memorialize themselves in order to claim their place in history, and to demand "the right to" have and claim their place in history".

Dr. Martin explained how the wax figures in their museum would be used to tell the history, a serious history of black people and to "put a face on history that has been faceless". Their museum was unlike the horror and celebrity wax museums that existed at that time. In their journey to start a wax museum, and to their surprise, they learned that there was a wax figure manufacturer, right here in Baltimore City, and the rest is "history"!

Dr. Joanne Martin and BOCA Board members from left to right, Pam Moore, Celena Owens, and David Long

Dr. Martin continues to carry on the legacy of her husband and his vision for a true sense of Black Pride and honor, and encourages members of the Historic Oliver community to visit the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum again, and soon. There is so much history there and so much new that is happening with the museum, that you should not miss out on. Bring your entire family. Bring a friend. The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum is located in the heart of our Historic Oliver and we must find the time to support our beloved museum. Dr. Martin was such a treat and we are thrilled that she shared with us her story. We welcome her back any time! The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum is located at 1601-03 E North Ave, Baltimore, MD 21213.

Baltimore Green Justice Workers

Lynn Pinder - Baltimore Green Justice Workers Coop

Our other speakers that evening were Lynn Pinder and Kimberly Armstrong, from Baltimore Green Justice Workers Cooperative (BGJWC). BGJWC equips people from marginalized, underserved communities with innovative, out-of-the-box green solutitions that help them shift power dynamics, and help them create more beautiful, energy-efficient, safe spaces in their communities. BGJWC is working to launch the Baltimore Green Jobs Academy. You may connect with them at (443) 625-1073.

BGJWC is spearheading the "Taking it to the Streets: Resident Training & Mobilization" effort. Baltimore neighborhoods like Oliver are more likely to experience adverse effects of climate change and a member of BGJWC lives in Oliver. Baltimore Green Justice Workers Cooperative (BGJWC) invited residents who attended the March 16, 2023, Baltimore Oliver Community Association (BOCA) meeting to share their thoughts about what the terms "resident power", "climate justice", "energy justice", "climate change and solar battery packs/storage" mean to them. Click the file below to see Historic Oliver community's responses.

BOCA Taking it to the Streets Introduction Update
Download PDF • 2.01MB

Tell BGJWC what you think about the responses of your neighbors. Call: 443-625-1073, #102

or email Lynn Pinder, to share your reflections about the responses attached. If you missed the opportunity to respond to the question on the prior page, email your response to or leave a message explaining your response at 443-625-1073, #102.

Volunteer to help your neighbors figure out the best way to build resilience to climate related hazards in Oliver. As a volunteer, you will help canvass the Oliver neighborhood; help conduct a series of telephone or email surveys to obtain resident input; and participate in at least two community discussions.


Pam Moore - BOCA Board President

Baltimore Oliver Community Association, BOCA meetings are held monthly on the 3rd Thursday of each month, 7-8pm at the Sojourner Place building at 1202 E. Preston Street. If you have any questions about this meeting or any others, feel free to send an email to:

The quarterly Development meetings are held on the third Thursday, in lieu of the community meeting that month, but starts at 6:30pm. (Feb., May, Aug., Nov.)

Follow Baltimore Oliver Community Association, BOCA on Facebook and instagram

***Upcoming Events to Attend!

7th Annual Voices of History Street Fair - Saturday, June 24th, 11am–6 pm, 1601 E. North Avenue

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Jan 13

Dr. Martin is an amazing woman and I feel blessed to have her and the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum as part of the Oliver Community.

Apr 17
Replying to

She really is. A regal gem.



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