We Are Arabbers Transcript

We Are Arabbers Transcript

- What happened to the Arabber? I don't see 'em, and he used come to the door to door and said, "What's happening?" I said, they trying to shut most of the Arabbers down.

- Horses raised this town. Horses built this city.

- Baltimore always had a history of horse and wagons.

- I bet you it was much as at least 400 wagons out, some days. And that's how many people was huckstin'

- When urban renewal came through, they said, "You can't have a stable where people live."

- Hucksters and Arabbers, that's what I always heard. I always said Arabbers, is for knocking on doors, come from knocking on doors. Sayin', "Hello, mister here the Arabber man." That's what most people would say, the Arabber man, when you rap on the doors. They called me Blue. When I was a little boy, I used to pick out all the blue marbles my uncles had, and anything blue, I used to try to get it. I've been doing Arabbin' most of all my life. And then suddenly, I'm 71 now. Yeah.

- They used to call me Teethless at the time. I didn't have no teeth in front. So I went and bought me some teeth, put some teeth right in, "Hey Teeth!" They call me Teeth. And Washington called it hawkers. Called us hawkers. Yeah. But here in Maryland, right there, we call it Arabbin'. We the hollers around there.

- [Customer] Okay, not too ripe. My name is Eugene Allen.

- [Interviewer] What's your nickname?

- Fatback. See, I'm a twin. I was the fat one and my sister was a skinny one, and the lady, that helped my mother, with the children named me Fatback.

- Arabbin' come from the Lord's time. See the Lord's time, and if you ever look at any religious pictures of Jesus and the Lord Jesus, you've seen the Arabbers in the street with the camels and mules. They went through the streets with the pots and pans and all kinds of, did you ever see at any of religious pictures? That's where Arabbers come, because it's nothing but the street peddlers. 

- My nickname is China. I don't know why they call me, but I think all Arabbers got a nickname. They always say China's precious. You know like if you had something in the China closet, is that precious? I don't know. But it don't mean that by my name. They just call me that. That's just old nickname. Anybody got nickname, you got nickname?

- [Interviewer] No.

- We are Arabbers and we out there for a tradition that we sell produce and different things to the public. We all work together so and we have love for one another. So basically that's why we still carrying on. This is here in West Baltimore. I can't speak for east 'cause it used to be east and west, you know. And we put the harness on them and back them into the wagon and then go down and see what the guy had for us to load up on the wagon to go out for that day.

- [Narrator] When the huge fragrant strawberries of Anne Arundel County, pronounced "Ann ran dal," appeared at last, they went for only 5 cents a box. All spring the streets swarm with hucksters selling such things. They called themselves not hucksters, but Arabs, with the A as in day, and announced their wares with loud ruckus, unintelligible cries much worn down by phonetic decay.

- When you holler, you draw people to the door. See, that's for drawing people to the door. Letting people know that what you got on your wagon, your products, if you got orange, you hollering, "Here, sweet oranges." That's the adrenaline of hollering. Let the people know what you got on your wagon.

- Cantaloupes cantaloupes. Sweet cantaloupes cantaloupes. Anne Arundel cantaloupes. We used cantaloupes from Anne Arundel County and people used to holler, "Cantaloupe, Cantaloupes sweet Anne Arundel Cantaloupes." Cause people would say, "You got any Anne Arundel Cantaloupes?" You like, cantaloupes come from eastern shore. "Hard crab." "Hard crab." "Hard crab." "Hard crab."

- [Interviewee] Quite a few people know Benjamin and know Meekins. But we say "Winfield", it's known all over.

- But Arabs used to have all kind of little things. You know when you used be hollering and some of 'em, the older ones could holler. I mean they knew all kind of rhymes. It was fun. 

♪ When your houses is on fire and no farmers around ♪ 

♪ Stick your head out the window, let the shack burn down ♪

♪ Oh God, hold them real ♪

♪ Got 'em red to the rind ♪ 

♪ If you watch we can hold the mirror ♪ 

♪ Come to the wagon mile. ♪

- Oh come out boys Beverly block. You can't run but you sure can try. When you die, I'm gonna tame your skin and call on you once again, come on boys.

- [Narrator] If you lived in Waverly and for your health's or your church's sake ate fish on Friday, then when you heard a particular bellowing voice out in the village highway, you ran to the door ready to exchange your country's silver for the wares, which the bellow are carried. Another purveyor of Friday dinners chose for his territory, the Hartford Road. He carried a deep wide tin kettle full of oysters. Out of the corner of his thick mouth, he twisted two shrill, hard monotonous notes. The first prolonged for a second or two, the other much higher and ending in a snap.

- [Arab] Two.

- [Customer] $2?

- [Arab] Yeah.

- A Abraham just like going on a job. If you don't put nothing in it, you ain't gonna get nothing outta it. You don't put no work in it. You ain't get nothing outta it. You ain't gonna make no money.

- [Customer] How many I get for a dollar, five?

- Nah four for a dollar, man.

- Nah, I can go to the store can get it.

- [Interviewee] See. You always got to be on your P's and Q's. What you doing?

- You want 'em ripe or what?

- To make some money. See. I raised, three kids at home because I had a couple on the outside. I raised all my kids by Arab.

- During them days, it was a liver. The average one of 'em, white or black were not educated. And they raised families. I know of some that sent kids to college on the wagon.

- [Customer] Give me five of them in there.

- [Arab] Okay.

- [Customer] Step in and count 'em again.

- They used to have Arabbers in New York and they had Arabbers in Washington with horse wagons. Washington had 'em, Philly had 'em and New York had 'em. But I don't know about the other places, but I know them three places had 'em, yeah. We are the last ones with 'em. But all them had them.

- I used to pull up in front of my house with my wagon. In front of my house. I gave my, gave my mom something before I would leave from in front of my house. I done made me 40, $50.

- [Interviewer] So did you have like a specific route that you were on? Oh yeah, we all had specific on special district that we work in every huckster. That was mostly all the hucksters here in Philadelphia had their own.

- Everybody went. well really everybody went in different sections of the city. I mean, which then you can go anywhere you want really with a horse and wagon. And you had your fruit on your wagon, anything that you wanted. And you went the door to door and the horse went up the street by itself. If he told the horse to, whoa, the horse know when to stop the horse know when to go. And the people enjoy that kind of activity then because there wasn't too many cars, there wasn't too many trucks and there wasn't so much congestion in the city, but as trucks. And they took the trolleys off the street and put buses on and everything changed.

- My name is Albert Ennis.

- [Interviewer] What's your nickname?

- Call me Bull, nickname.

- [Interviewer] Why do they call you Bull?

- I shoot the breeze all the time. Yeah, that's right.

- [Interviewer] Can you tell me your name?

- William Brown.

- [Interviewer] And your nickname?

- Pistol.

- [Interviewer] And why did they call you Pistol?

- Oh, a fellow named by Walter Fisher gave me that name. He dead now. I used to be a stable boss for him

- William T. Dennis.

- [Interviewer] And what was your nickname?

- He's Papa Dennis, yeah.

- [Interviewer] do they call you anything else for nickname?

- Some of 'em called me Cabbage. I started out in the early thirties. Arabbin' you know as a helper little boy. And we growed up into it, You know we'd go to school on the weekends and summertime. We used to Arab like that. See everything was done by the wagons back in the thirties. Right? So Empire Laundry had wagons to sell and also Smiths Bakery.

- I always liked the horse and wagon. It's like I started off at first, I said when I was young, when I get to be a man to get a horse, my mother said, Albert, you do what you want with your money, but I'm not gonna give you no money. So I saved my money and bought it myself. 

- The first pony I bought was a blind pony. Very, I always thought he was very pretty animal and didn't cost me but, $50 with the harness in that, at that time. The first wagon I had, I bought it right outta there. Yeah, when buddy's father was living. And I went on from there. I had my stuff fixed up. Started off with that one. That's how it started. Yeah. And the fellas will tell you in this thing that one time I had highs of 20 horses, but they all wasn't working at that time. 

- I had 20 in the one big stable at Famell Avenue and Popplin Street. But I never Arab, I was always the fella that supplied the fellas to work the Arab. Yeah, this was like a Liberty state I own. I owned the material, you come and buy hard from me, gimme a certain amount of money. At that time, if I can recall, you was getting say around $5 a day. That's for your rig. And if a fella wanted Arab, you supply the money. You could load a wagon, do them days for $25.

- Huckster, Arabber. Everybody that has a great place to sell. You could sell anything in Oxford Street if crab cakes, I don't care what, whatever you came by. Somebody would buy something from you, wouldn't it?

- [Arabber] - Yep. We used to sell ice. We put 10 cakes of ice. So on the truck of each cake weighed 3000 pounds.

- [Arab] 300.

- 300 pounds. And we put 10 cakes on there. And we start at Drill Avenue. And when we got down to Pennsylvania Avenue, we'd have about a half a cake left. That's how long the block was. And we did that for quite some time. And the, my father even sold ice in Oxford Street and he taught me, there were different people that coming through. Men would be selling things, hollering, whatever they were selling. He said, just stay where you are, don't move, don't say anything. And as they would do that, he'd be about half a block or maybe a block, almost a block away. And people would come out and buy from us. They thought we were selling it. See what I mean? That's it. Yeah. That's the way you were. You don't, you don't make no noise. Let's, let's stay right there. Take it easy, go slow.

- I goes down to the garage, I picks out my fruits and stuff. But I want to buy what I want to put on, what the people like, you know. And I loads it on the wagon, you know. And then once I load it on the wagon, I pulls up to the senior citizen buildings and all the people in the senior citizen building come out and they picks out what they like. They call me pop. And when I was coming here, first thing my father say, oh, here come pop goes the weasel.

- Basically everybody have their own these eyes on loading the wagon. They might load it from the floor. They might put, a board up there to make a prop and different things to, to fancy it up. So normally you can't say that everybody who loads the wagon is the same, it's all different, you know. I might load different one way I might load watermelons to the back. They might load watermelons to the front, whatever, whatever pleases me. So basically I think when I load it, it looks pretty fair.

- New York used to load their wagons different from us. They used to load their wagons. They used to have one like, and once you only could see their stuff on one side. They used to have this stuff like straight up on a slant on the, on the board. Because like if you live on this side of the street, you couldn't see nothing. But on this side you could see everything. 'cause see I think they worked like up, up this way and then came down this way.

- [Narrator] On my farm at Orange Hill, only three miles from Baltimore. The last year I was there, I sold all my peaches to two men at four pence per peck. And let them have a cart and a horse to take them into the city to sell. Knowing I'd only made four pence per pack on average the year before. Gather them myself. These men agreed to pick them. They picked about one half of them, carried them to Baltimore. But Alas, they gave up the business saying that they could not make wages. Although they at first said that they would certainly take every peach intending if the market should not suit to carry them to the stills, etcetera.

- It is a tradition that's, you know, it's been around for years and I love it myself. I was raised up on it.

- [Interviewer] We were just asking, we were just gonna talk to you together and ask about did you used to take him out as a little boy?

- Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. All my grand, all the children. Yeah. That's where I learned about horses? In my neighborhood everybody knew me as Man Boy. Everybody they called me Mr. Man Boy and all the kids, we have a much better world. But when I was coming up, you never had trouble with teenagers like you do today. It's just that they don't have no respect for yourself and nobody else.

- What was it like taking your son out back in those days?

- Well, but back in them times he was too smart. We used to sell wooden coal with wagons. it wasn't all Arabbers. You go around sell wood and coal. Arab is a, something like a gift to you. you put your heart towards, you know because I had to do it for a living, it was a thing I started way back when I about 16. The life we live now, everybody in the fast lane, you know. And I think if we could stop back and look, at what's going on sometime and look around, and maybe help our brothers or whatever sisters or whatever, you know. But I thank God that my, I raised my family my best. There's one thing I can say about my kids, all of 'em is honest, we get along like a family and we go to church together, and it's just a community. There's the thing that I'm proud of that I did all my life, you know? And if I had to look back on it again, I'd do it again.

- I just learned a lot from the both of 'em. Learnt a lot from all them peoples. Get to learn how to sell fruit, how to lead the horse, guide the horse or whatever drive the horse. They call me Little Junior. My father's name was junior and they just call me Little Junior. I used to call him Horse and he call me Pony. It make me feel like I'm a big part of Arab 'cause I'm like the youngest there is.

- [Interviewer] Where'd that name come from, Arabbers?

- Oh that, that goes way back down.

- [Narrator] There's nothing about the Arabbers unique to Baltimore except the name. A related usage of the term first appeared in London in 1848 when a member of parliament and an English clergyman, both refer to London's homeless children as city Arabs. How did an English slang word for homeless youth come to be applied to primarily black, Baltimore horse cart vendors? The answer lies in the terms denotation of not the nationality or ethnicity of the people referred to, nor the occupation, but their lack of fix address.

- Right now I'm just glad that we still here. We try to follow the rules that they have. Now you had to go through trial and tribulations on different things, you know.

- Over the last few years they've come up with some new rules and regulations. They've actually violated their own procedures. So we've had to file a class action lawsuit, discrimination suit against the city and Peter Ballance be himself.

- [Inspector] Okay, we're back.

- [Steve] What're you back for?

- [Inspector] Stable inspection.

- Alright, first of all, you guys know, and I'll read it to you, Arab Preservation Society. And Benjamin Meekins and Donald Savoy Sr. and class plaintiffs versus the city of Baltimore, which you are an agent and arm of that city. And Peter Ballance commissioner of health are currently under suit in federal court under title 1981 and 1983. It's a harassment suit. Now you're gonna have an opportunity now to not come in here and we'll forget the whole thing. If you insist on coming in, then we will add this in evidence against the city of Baltimore. So if you wanna discuss that with your boss first, that would probably be the wise thing to do. 'cause we really don't want you to come in because it, this is already harassment. We filed under the fourth and 14th amendments of the Constitution of the United States. He threw out the Fourth Amendment claim, but kept everything in the 14th amendment claim. So the city asked for an immediate dismissal, which I believe a 12 B six. And that's considered by the judge. He waives the evidence and found that a dismissal was not in order and that we would continue into a discovery phase, which we're presently in.

- Usually every time they come, they'll find violations. 15, 20, 25. Okay, then when I come around out here, oh, the city says you have to do that, animal control people. You have to do this, you have to do that, we have to do that. So I sit there and scratch my head. Ain't no hair on it. I try to abide by that. See that's the only state we get inspected every other week. That's before we put that suitcase in. Here come a new group. They wanted this a way. But I said, well, so and so I want it this a way then. Blah, blah, blah. Lip work going from one to the other. I said, well, well we want it done this way. Because the law said, I said, what law, whose law? Health department law, animal control law.

- [Interviewer] How do you feel about what they're trying to get you to do with the horses and the stables now?

- [Interviewer] How does the stables stay working when there's so many different laws and regulations?

- Here come another group come down there. I want six inches of shavings for bedding we use shaving for bedding, fine. Then when that lady told me, I want you to wet it, that did it, I jumped 50 feet in the air and I was like Flintstone. Feet was up, wasn't on the ground. Why put six inches of how many inches in a stall then wet it? That defeat the purpose. That let you know she didn't know what she talking about. Now she got highly upset.

- We were originally called in by animal control and some other interested parties because of what was alleged to be neglectful situations. In a lot of instances, because animal control facilities deal mainly with dogs or cats, they don't have the expertise or the knowledge through lack of regular participation in dealing with horses. Our goal has been to work to develop a relationship with animal control facilities, humane societies, whatever's needed to help alleviate the suffering, and the abuse of the horses. We found conditions that, we find to be less than ideal. One of the things that has been constantly told us is, again, I guess it's misconceptions about what people think about abuse and neglect. And we've been asked, we've been told, well you'll never find a thin horse here. In fact, in the five years or so of going back and forth, we've only found one or two thin horses. The majority of times with the Arabber stables we don't see thin horses. If anything, we see a little bit of the opposite. What we feel might be obese horses. I guess part of the questions that I would have is, are the horses conditioned to do the jobs that they're asked? Are the horses kept in conditions that are the most humane for 'em?

- My name's Cooper Williams and I'm an equine veterinarian. Work on horses. Mainly. I think this is the third year I've done the annual examinations. So the Arabber ponies and horses down here. Yeah, general condition is overall very good. As you've seen with the ones we've been looking at, they're all in good flesh and no major problems with any of them. We've had some injuries but we see lots of injuries in stables all around the countryside. So I can't say that we've had anything abnormal happen down here. Overall, everything's very good.

- Resting respiratory rate is 12. I have to say that they have a pretty special relationship with most of their animals from what we can see, certainly working around them, you get a sense that, when you're around an animal that's abused or that you know is beaten or something like that, they have a, a demeanor that they're trying to get away from you. They don't even wanna see you. So as a veterinarian you get a sense of how animals are with people because we're doing things that they don't necessarily like. And if they're good for what we do, I'd have to say from that standpoint as well, they must be treated very well. You know, it's not the ideal, I think everybody would love to see horses and ponies out galloping around open fields. But I think if the animals are well taken care of, I don't really have a problem with it myself. That's gonna be an individual thing and some people are gonna believe that they should only be out in the country. I don't know that we can really make that judgment, but I think the Arabbing ponies, they don't work real hard. They go out and they walk basically from place to place. 

- They hang out on the corner here on the corner there. And obviously it's a romantic kind of a thing. It's been going on for many years. I think animals, obviously, again, it's not ideal that they're working on hard surfaces all the time, but the man and police horses are in the same situation and their feet and everything have to be attended to on a special basis to make sure that things are, they can handle being on the streets all the time.

- One of the first recollections of horses that I have is when I was a kid, I lived one of the main streets in Aberdeen in Scotland. And there was one guy who was left delivering milk with a Clydesdale. And I mean, my mother always tells me that's what, that's where it started. These horses that are working on the streets all the time, number one and also that are, they're are pulling horses opposed to a riding horse. So it's a slightly different style of shoeing and slightly different set of circumstances with the way that the, the feet and things are because they're working on on hard pavement and that all the time, which most horses are. It's just like they put on the shoes for the grip on the pavement so they don't slip, because the the metal shoe on the pavement, just goes everywhere. So you've gotta be a little bit more careful with the way you shoe them, particularly on the hind legs because sometimes when they're pulling the cart they can step on themselves a little bit. You've got shoe 'em may be a little tighter than I normally would. I mean that, that's part of the reason that I do the job because no two days are the same, you know. No, two horses are the same. And I mean it doesn't matter whether I'm here or whether I'm in any other stable it. It's part of the attraction of the job for me.

- And they had the black only blacksmith we had in them days was a fellow named Eddie Brown. He was down on West Street, south Baltimore. He was a good blacksmith, original blacksmith. The man that do the used to do our wheels real white man and his name was Harry Smith. He was on Ann Street between Freemont and Orlean Now you gotta go to to pay.

- What we were looking for. The wheel guy we used to use moved to Ohio. We found another wheel guy right down the road from there. So we said okay. Went in there and he was a young guy, Aaron built some wheels for him and we bought, we paid for him and got 'em and then he was supposed to build two more and we were up a couple of times, but he hadn't done it. So then the last time we came up we ran into him at the auction and we're like, well okay, we'll stop by depending on how much we get for these horses. Well it was three more hours before we even sold the horses. So then we took that money and we went around and collected all the other stuff that we, that man boy had sitting up there for a while. wood iron, all that stuff. And by the time we got done we didn't have any money left. So . So this is the first trip we've made since then.

- [Interviewer] You spend a lot of money up here Steve.

- [Steve] Man Boy does.

- [Arab] the hole sit here.

- [Interviewer] Can you tell me what that is Mr. Savoy?

- [Mr Savoy] What's that buddy?

- [Interviewer] What's that?

- This is ball bearing for new wheels we getting on the wagon. They got to have ball bearing. Instead of regular boxings, yeah.

- And when they wear down you have to get new ones to put in there.

- [Customer] Different sized ones.

- Yeah, come on with me and get 'em.

- [Interviewer] You Spent Almost $300 last time.

- There's nothing to lay out a thousand dollars a day. Harness, veils, irons, all that.

- [Arabber] regular pads, saddle pads, all that.

- [Interviewer] The top hats are for the pads for the horse?

- Yeah make it a little softer for the horse to pull the wagons. You know, when they wear down like that. What size is this?

- That's a 20 right there.

- Yeah, this is about the size you normally get isn't it, 20? 19, 20.

- [Arab] When are you getting married?

- [Workman] I dunno.

- Huh? The young lady ever asked you yet?

- No. You just both ready though, aren't you?

- Not yet.

- Not yet okay. I'll give you another six months.

- [Customer] Where y'all go?

- [Shop Keeper] Yeah go.

- [Arab] Them, see which car's up there already.

- [Customer] See what that is.

- Let a load here.

- [Interviewer] Are the red creams still scarce?

- Yeah, I'm, I'm gonna try to get a couple of days. They got, we bought all they had last year.

- They had green, they had white and they had blue. But my boy only likes red.

- But we are, the tradition in Baltimore is it's supposed to be red you know. With the pony makes them look nice. Sometimes they and whatnot. I had that pony.

- Did you order this?

- Yeah.

- Thank you for people like Jack Allen and Albert Innis who are no longer with us but are with you. And we're richer for knowing folks like that. Amen.

- [Group] Amen.

- We used to go to up go to the horse sale on Monday up in Pennsylvania, which is in New Holland where a lot of horses we get from up in where the Quakers are. We go there on Monday and we used to go up there and buy horses and bring 'em here.

- [Bidder] 350!

- [Announcer] 400? $400. 410 10, 20, 420. 30 30 30. Sold for 420, 206.

- Oh I believe 25 years so far that or more with the Smithsonian Institute. For 25 years, I've been going over there as a participant at the festival, folk like festival. And I take a fruit over there load the fruit on the wagon and the people that's walking around viewing all the stuff that's going on. I put official watermelon on them. ♪ They are all ready to the round, whoa. ♪ And they turn around, oh he got watermelon. I said, yes m'am morning . Tell e'm pick one of them. You just cut slices and load 'em up on the wagon. They come out the lines. They have lines on both sides of wagons.

- [Vendor] Nature street, delicious and sweet. Don't go to Safeway, come this a away. $1.50 a slice.

- All them sweet. Michael Taylor name, been a Arabb for ten years.

- [Interviewer] And how'd you get started in the business?

- [Michael] Oh, from my uncle worked with him. I've been working ever since.

- [Interviewer] Who was your uncle?

- [Michael] Blue.

- [Interviewer] George Kel?

- [Michael] George Kel.

- Cut 'em up. Same message. Take one. Take one, take one. Give me that money. That's all we did, see? So I had a man over there with me last year. Savoy, one of them. We used to call him Frog, had one of his sons over there. He came up, he would cut 'em up and he would stand back. And he would holler, pick 'em up, pick 'em up, pick 'em up!

- And everybody would turn around look at the man, thought he was crazy. So. You telling him and he won't come at ya.

- Red to the rind honey lady come on in. A dollar and a half. A dollar half a slice. Your slice, your choice. Take out what you like honey, I mean lady.

- Fruit sales, fruit sales! Get apples! Get some cantaloupe, some cantaloupe!

- [Announcer] It's NPRs all things considered. On this independence day. Come with us on a tour and celebration of American regionalism. The Arabbers of Baltimore are street vendors who sing out their wares as they guide horse-drawn carts. Also a meditation.

- Our lawyer called me last week and the city has decided to settle our class action lawsuit. But here's what I think we figured out that we want and we'll talk about it. There's 10 points. First point is we want 'em to pay our attorneys 'cause we haven't paid anything. Number two, we want, to rework every law, rule and regulation, relative to the horses and stables in the city. And make everybody accountable the same. In other words, we're not exempting anybody. You know we're not gonna exempt Pimlico, we're not gonna exempt the horses in police shoes and we're not gonna exempt the guy from the carriage trading. They said anybody under contract with the city of Baltimore is exempt from these rules and regulations. He's under contract.

- Alright now, there was a fellow named Gary outta East Baltimore. He had a couple carriages that he was in when first started building in the harbor. This fellow named Kenny over on Hill Street got that. And there they went and built them stables. They found a place for them to stay but now and they from out of town. We all raised here voters. I was voting ever since I was 21 years old. What's going on in your head?

- Horse business ain't like it used to be. That's the reason why I stopped, using the horse.

- Everything is modernization. They say that the horse is in the way of the traffic.

- [Interviewer] Yep.

- Horse ain't in the way of the traffic. The traffic's in the way of the horse. When I started in the business, an Arabber's license was $2. Arabber's license is now $150.

- All they had was the one horse sound like I got up there.

- Yeah, the tag for the wagon.

- The tags, that's all yeah.

- And that's so that the wagon would be legal. But now you gotta pay for that tag. You gotta have a Arabber's license and you gotta have a driver's license for to drive the horse.

- That's, I didn't know that.

- Yes sir, you gotta have a driver's license.

- When I came along. You like the tag you see up there? Yeah you they put them on of a block like. But this see, this have a snap remember? And you hook it on and a block, hook it on the horse's reins and you, I don't care whatever what wagon you have, you could use.

- [White Bearded Man] Yeah but you can't do that no more.

- Yeah, that's all different.

- Every wagon, if you got 10 wagons you're supposed to have 10 licenses with 10 wagons.

- So this lady asked me, she's my aunt's girlfriend, she asked me, she would say, what happened to the Arabber? I don't see many. They used to come to the door to door and say you know what's happening? I said they trying to shut the most Arabbers down. 'Cause they keep you on the move and they confuse you, this got to be done to make you disgusted to get rid of whatever you're doing. Now this would hurt the Arabbers, in this city, on way back. When we had the original old fish market, that market space, some months we used to go over the boating yard over on North Avenue over Sly brothers and everybody hook up from East Baltimore Teamsters with the horses wagon. South Baltimore. Everybody used to gather there.

- Yeah, it was a plenty of wagons out, every day. I bet you it was much as at least, 400 wagons out, some days. Now that's how many people was, was Huckstin'. They was really Huckstin'.

- You would hear a maybe a hundred horses coming early in the morning, that's what I mean. That's what you would hear. These horse hoofs, hitting and all these bells ringing and they all one behind another. And sometime the stragglers were probably two minutes behind and man the horses, they become, the horses be so pretty and tallish shiny and they all headed the same way. And that that was such a thrill just to be in the line of 'em. They called me Little John, its a name that I picked up I guess in the stable alleys, I guess 'cause I was just a little guy. But I had a lot of sense.

- During that time. You could go to market at 12 o'clock at night with a horse and wagon. 'Cause see the market opened, opened at 12. So you could just take your horse and go right to the market at nighttime and get your produce. They had a big water thing and you pull your horse up and give him water and then you go and pull into the market and you could walk around and price your produce and get whatever you want. You could load up there. They used to have Cameron's market and Cameron Street was a big market and that's where they built the harbor there. They had banana houses. They had about five or six banana houses.

- On Monday was United Fruit Company Day. The banana boat was in.

- The boats came up out of Cuba. And we would take the horses down there and haul bananas from Pratt Street over to Little Italy. And when the boat was over with bananas, they had left. You could buy a whole wagon load of bananas for $1.

- Boats used to come from Eastern Shore right there in where they built the harbor at. There used to be boats come from Eastern Shore with watermelons. And you pull your wagon up here on the side and they had nothing but boats lined down on the side and you get off your wagon to walk down and you price different kind of had. During that time they had, oh they had about five or six different kinds of watermelon.

- [Arraber] So then they was centralized. One guy would go to the market. He had maybe it was five or six guys had trucks, they would bring it back in town for you. 'Cause you can't, by it being so far coming all the way to Jessop, you have to come out here with a truck, buy it and bring it back in town for the wagons to load it in the city.

- [Interviewer] So now you're competing with supermarkets?

- Supermarkets, food chains. We're competing with everybody. Any the little stores on the corners, the supermarket, the big supermarket, the super chains, all that we are competing with. So, it's a thing of we are just, if it wasn't for people depending on us coming day by day, we would be out of business.

- See Arrabers, is everyday people. But it can't buy every day. You may sometime maybe three days or two days outta the week that you can work, but you go to market every day. You go to market time, the supermarket finish with you. I finish with the market. There's nothing there for the Arabs. See they come first, they buy by car loads and truckloads. We go there, we buy 15, 20 items off 50 items. And sometimes we get together, maybe you buy about 500 watermelons, a thousand watermelons where supermarket buy a whole truck load, a whole trail load. They use that as a calling card.

- Well I buy a lot of strawberries out of here. I buy a lot of potatoes out of here. Cantaloupes, Honey Dews, green peppers. This is, and tomatoes. Cantaloupes come like this. Some of 'em, they're greenish looking and you first person person think, that it's not right, it's right. You have a a pressure point where you can tell whether your fruit is ready but if the pressure point don't move, it's green, it has to sit a while and like we look at stuff like this, you look at it and you say, well you try to find something in it with a dent indentation like that. So, okay, then you can go back to the man say hey man, this is not number one.

- No I don't think so.

- [Arab] Yeah.

- No I don't think so.

- [Arabber] Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. That's it. That's it, write my ticket.

- Alright.

- Thank you.

- [Boss] That's the first time you ever said thank you.

- Maybe you can make a dollar, maybe you can't. But if you can make a dollar out, you buy. Like we say the tricks of the trade, it's a trick of a trade. You ain't tricking the man but you think you tricking him 'cause you find just one piece in there that's maybe a little ripe. Well you're gonna find that in a box. I don't care if it's just come off the vine. One piece is gonna ripen them faster than another. It might be a hundred boxes here. You got one box here that's ripe. The 99 rest of 'em is good. It's number one. That's it. The name of the game is you got to try to do something that, or buy something that you can sell and make a price.

- And then a lot of times you can't always buy things at the market. 'Cause see at the market the prices go up and down. You know you might go out the market one day and like bananas might be one price the next time you go up and they're sky high or you might go get something one day, you know how like anything you go to the store and buy. So you can't always depend on that. But you gotta always look at the brighter side of it. You gotta take the bitter with the sweet. And see nowadays the market is kind of tight because it don't be too much stuff coming in like it used to be because it used to be plenty of farmers. And nowadays there's not a lot of farmers no more because the farmers children getting their property and they're selling it and they're building homes on it. So there's not too many farmers, that's doing farming. And what we do get comes from California and it comes from Florida. And a lot of times when you get that, it's been in in refrigeration a lot and the taste is going from it. You don't get the really fresh stuff like you should get. No.

- Nobody works for me. They work for their self. Me and George work together but we don't, we don't have anybody working for us. They work for their self. We come out and pick up the stuff and bring it in town and that's it.

- We lost one of our oldest Arabbers and supporters of the stable Albert, we lost him this year. And I think that took a great hold and a great toll to the stable itself when it came to the knowledge that we needed around. I think things started to change after Albert passed. He was sort of like the foundation of the stable. That's because he, he was here and like the godfather of everybody, you know. And it seems though after he passed, interest for some of the older guys had started to leave because there was nobody around for them.

♪ It's my silent journey ♪ 

♪ Won't you walk with me ♪

♪ Soon I'll meet my savior ♪ 

♪ Whoever sets the sinner free ♪ 

♪ Now I lay down my burden ♪ 

♪ At the feet of my good lord ♪

♪ As I make that final journey home ♪ 

♪ It's my silent journey ♪

♪ It's that final ride ♪ 

♪ With my horse and wagon ♪ 

♪ And my loved ones by my side ♪

♪ Give me peace my Jesus ♪ 

♪ Show your mercy on the soul ♪ 

♪ As I make that final journey home ♪

♪ As I make that final journey home ♪ 

♪ As I make that final journey home ♪

♪ When I make that final journey ♪ 

♪ Home ♪

- Life is that way and nothing's gonna last forever. And there's so many things that I can look back on and see what used to be, is no more. I can go down Pennsylvania Avenue and look around. I said God, I remember when we used to sell ice up there. I look up Huffman Street, I remember we used to sell ice there. Well where we used to sell the ice in coal. They'd tore that down.

- It's all gone.

- I was surprised at the places that they're torn down.

- Well the only place that still stands is Marsh Stern's old grocery store.

- [Yellow Shirt] It's gone.

- It's gone too now?

- It's gone. If I looked at it right it's gone.

- [Interviewee 1] I haven't been down there.

- [Interviewee 2] I'm pretty sure that was gone. I'm gonna have to go back again down to make sure.

- [Interviewee 1] I go down there tomorrow.

- [Interviewee 2] Yeah, do that. This.

- Huffman street where we was raised and born and raised at, all the buildings are going well the implosion where our store was at is where the high rises first high.

- Oh back down Murphy Homes.

- Murphy Homes yeah. That was where our store was. And then Urban Renewal came whereas a stable was anywhere. You could go all over Baltimore City and you'd find stables behind people's houses and all. So when Urban Renewal came through, they said, you can't have a stable where people live.

- Port A, to this pole used to be a big stable in there. Mr. Tom, I think his name was White. He was a good friend of Ms. Mildred Allen when she had horses.

- People lived behind stables around the corner from stables in front of stables all their lives.

- [Interviewee 2] Yo, plenty of places, yeah.

- In this city, it was so many stables in this city one time, you couldn't go three blocks without finding a stable.

- [Interviewee 2] Finding a stable yeah.

- Calhoun and Riggs Avenue. My mother bought that piece of property there and brought, and took the garages and made stables out of it. And we kept our horses up there until I guess, a couple years ago. As a baby, I had rickets in my legs. They taught me to walk and they called me Bo ever since.

- [Man White Cap] And way up the 1100 block of and 1100 block of street, we was up there 60 years.

- [Interviewer] Now why did that?

- Urban Renewal. Okay? With a quick takeover.

- That was called the Allen Stable. Yeah, it been be about a hundred over a hundred years.

- [Interviewer] How come they're tearing it down?

- Well you see when the new development came in there for the houses, you know that didn't want to leave that in there, an old building like that. So they're taking it, you know.

- It was a well known stable, a registered stable. Now there's nothing but a lot there. But you can see where the, see you can't hardly see where the stable was at. See it all growed up now just that, that little while there used to be a yard right there where that pole at. And from there on up was stables, where that big tree, that dead tree, that changed a hell of a lot. See all the new homes tore down all the old homes and which some of these alleys had stables in them. But there were garages.

- You now had the pre-existing stable now Retreat Street, Treaton North, Bruce and Lexer and Carter Street.

- And then when they start building houses, it's re-zoned as a housing. So they don't make it go out there, they just push you out there in a nice way. They rezone you out, you know. But most of them it doesn't close out. It is only a matter of time before all of 'em be gone or even it just be like a museum.

- And this is Flat Iron Alley. Can't see nothing now, this used to be a stable here. Right along here used to be a stable. Right along here used to be a stable but it was quite a few buildings at that time, were still using for stables. But now it's in the past test now. I was right along in, here. I was right along in here, see one two, my stable was right along here at that time.

- [Interviewer] How many stalls did you have?

- I had four stalls in mine. I didn't have but two ponies though. Then the next day we had about seven or eight stall in it. But it had all the horses. Ed Chapman was up on Bruce Street now he was down further. He had about eight stalls. They were good sized buildings for a working stable. We don't have but three working stables in the city now. And before I couldn't count 'em. This might be one of the pennies I lost at that time.

- [Interviewer] This is you with the horse-shoer?

- [Interviewer] Tapped out?

- Yeah.

- [Interviewer] What do you mean?

- Huh?

- [Interviewer] Can you talk about him? Little to the tape?

- No.

- [Interviewer] Not on tape?

- [Interviewer] This is Ray Clem, the blacksmith.

- [Interviewer] Let's see if we get anymore.

- [Arabber] Don't take side, I got another set.

- [Arabber] We not going any place. You know we we're not going anywhere, we're not going anywhere. We are still alive and we're still trying to pass on something that everybody, every, every man should know. A surviving skill.

- I remember being up on Retreat Street, praying for a brand new situation. I remember down on Riggs Avenue praying, and down on, by our church praying because God is able and we know and believe that whatever we ask in his name that will he do, he is a own time God. And we thank him for his grace and mercy. I want us to be a little brief because of the thunder and you know, we know the rain is coming.

- Hey!

- We are gonna use it but we just not necessarily for the full thing. We're gonna have the guys load up all their wagons and stuff there. We'll store our wagons there. We're very fortunate. Francis is the one who's making this possible for us.

- No, but this is living history and I think that Baltimore is nuts not to really commercialize on it because Baltimore at first was a seaport town then it was railroads then it was big industry.

- [Attorney] So this is the deed for the Freemont Avenue properties showing.

- [Attorney] This is broken letter two 11.

- [Attorney] Letter of two 11?

- We prayed for this event to happen. And here you are because the Bible says in Mark 11 24, ask anything in my name. That shall be given to you. So when you begin to pray and you ask God to give you this building and somebody praying with you, you ask God to bring you out of whatever situation you found yourself in and the Lord grants it to you, then we ought to be able to say thank you Lord. Because you heard my cry and you remembered who I am and I'm yours and you are mine.

- Bless you.

- Nice meeting you.

♪ Somebody pray for me ♪ 

♪ You had me that time ♪

- [Arabber] Like you say, when you put your faith in God going on, something gonna happen. 

♪ And I so glad they prayed ♪

♪ And I so glad they prayed ♪

♪ And I feel glad they prayed for me ♪ 

♪ Come on just pray for me ♪

- [Arabber] As far as Arrabin' is concerned, I would say within the next 10, 15 years, it'll be a thing of the past.

- I miss them. I miss all them old men.

- Arabbers always held on to it. They didn't just stop like most cities did.

♪ And I'm so glad they prayed for me ♪ 

♪ My father prayed for me ♪ 

♪ He had me on his mind ♪ 

♪ He took the time to pray for me ♪

♪ And I'm so glad he prayed ♪ 

♪ And I'm so glad he prayed ♪ 

♪ And I'm so glad he prayed for me ♪ 

♪ My pastor prayed for me ♪

- [Arab] Don't care what you call it I don't know where I'll be at. It look like it ain't nothing else I could, you know, for me to do. And I like it.

♪ Pray for me ♪ 

♪ And I'm so glad she prayed ♪ 

♪ And I'm so glad she prayed ♪

♪ And I'm so glad she prayed for me ♪ 

♪ My Jesus prayed for me ♪

♪ He had me on his mind ♪

♪ He took the time to pray for me ♪ 

♪ And I'm so glad he prayed ♪ 

♪ And I'm so glad he prayed ♪

♪ And I'm so glad he prayed for me ♪

- [Singer] Praise the lord!

- [Group Singing] Praise the lord! 

♪ I'm living this morning ♪ 

♪ Because of you ♪ 

♪ I want to thank you ♪

- [Preacher] Oh God, I thank you for these, your people, bless them in a mighty way. Give them a new idea how to be better Christian. How to have a better business. How to save the money and how to save for a rainy day. Oh God, I just thank you right now. These are all the blessings we ask of you.

- [Audience] Amen.

- I bet you don't remember me.

- [Woman Red Hairpiece] There ain't nothing you can say. 

♪ There ain't nothing you can say ♪

♪ There ain't nothing you can do ♪

♪ There ain't nothing you can say ♪ 

♪ That will keep me wanting you ♪ 

♪ The way you've been talking ♪

♪ So mean and so tough ♪

♪ I've got news for you baby ♪

♪ I've finally had enough ♪

♪ When I'm gone ♪

♪ When I'm gone ♪ 

♪ You're gonna miss me child ♪ 

♪ I have a sense of survival and that got me the spot ♪

♪ What you know about life baby ♪

♪ Quit feeding the baby the job ♪

♪ I've made up my mind and dealt with my face ♪

♪ Someday you might notice, but by then it'll be too late ♪ 

♪ When I'm gone ♪

♪ When I'm gone ♪ 

♪ You're gonna miss me child ♪

♪ I've given notice ♪ 

♪ You've given me grief ♪ 

♪ I've been out on the town to get me some relief ♪

♪ See you got this dark cloud ♪ 

♪ That follows you around ♪ 

♪ But the weather is changing ♪ 

♪ And the sun pouring down ♪ 

♪ When I'm gone ♪

♪ When I'm gone ♪ 

♪ You're gonna miss me child ♪ 

♪ Cause when I'm gone ♪ 

♪ When I'm gone ♪

♪ You're gonna miss me child ♪

♪ It's my silent journey ♪ 

♪ Won't you walk with me ♪ 

♪ Soon I'll meet my savior ♪ 

♪ Who sets the sinner free ♪

♪ Now I lay down my burden ♪

♪ At the feet of my good lord ♪ 

♪ As I make that final journey home ♪

♪ It's my silent journey ♪ 

♪ It's that final ride ♪ 

♪ With my horse and wagon ♪ 

♪ And my loved ones by my side ♪

♪ Give me peace my Jesus ♪

♪ Show your mercy on the soul ♪

♪ As I make that final journey home ♪

♪ As I make that final journey home ♪ 

♪ As I make that final journey home ♪