“Black neighborhoods matter.” Sonia Eaddy’s powerful words echoed emphatically to a room of people transfixed by her speech as she accepted the Crystal Eagle honor, bestowed annually by the Owner’s Counsel of America (OCA) to a person who has fought against eminent domain abuse.
Eaddy, a homeowner and community activist, and Nicole King, an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland in Baltimore County, were both recognized on February 4 in Austin, Texas at the Owner’s Counsel of America annual dinner. Eaddy and King were honored for their tireless efforts to save the historic black neighborhood of Poppleton in West Baltimore, where Eaddy has lived for more than two decades.
The neighborhood has been almost completely demolished to make way for an urban renewal project, which has been stalled for many years due to poor planning. In this time, more than 500 private properties have been destroyed and Poppleton has been left to simply bear the losses of its homes, businesses and community connections.
Together, Eaddy and King decided to fight back, and were successful in convincing city officials to officially withdraw the eminent domain taking of several historic homes, including Eaddy’s. But for Eaddy, this has been about more than saving her own home. Eaddy and King are now launching a grassroots effort to force the City to consider the needs and interests of Poppleton residents in any development that takes place.
“Trying to speak, trying to get your voice heard, is hard…This accomplishment, this reward today, means so much to me. To be able to take it back to my neighborhood, my board, being able to have a sense of pride in where I come from,” she said, as she accepted the award.
Eaddy and King have been represented by Miller, Miller & Canby’s Joe Suntum, the former Board of Directors Chair of the OCA, and the OCA Maryland member attorney. Suntum is head of MMC’s eminent domain practice; he nominated Eaddy and King for the Crystal Eagle award.
“Sonia Eaddy is a powerful voice for equity and inclusion of the residents in neighborhoods targeted to be ‘renewed’ to be included in the discussion and decision making. For too long urban renewal has meant gentrification and replacement of the current residents with others. Sonia is fighting a righteous battle against the historical practices of Baltimore and its abuse of its eminent domain power,” Suntum said.
Click here to watch a video about Sonia’s ongoing fight against Eminent Domain in Black Neighborhoods.
To read OCA’s press release about the Crystal Eagle Award, click the download attachment button below. View Media Coverage of the event here.
Joseph Suntum and the eminent domain attorneys at Miller, Miller & Canby have extensive experience protecting client rights when their property interests are threatened or taken by governmental authorities for public use. Firm attorneys will review any offer made by the State or City without charge to determine whether you may be entitled to greater compensation than has been offered by the State. If you are interested in a no obligation review of your offer, or if you have any questions about your rights or the condemnation process, please call our office at 301-762-5212 and ask to speak with one of our eminent domain attorneys. To learn more about our eminent domain and condemnation law practice click here. View our representative cases by clicking here.