Annapolis is a lovely city for many reasons, one being its appreciation and inclusion of public art murals. One doesn’t have to walk far to see life in Eastport depicted in stunning murals at the Eastport Shell station, O’Leary’s, along Boatyard, and at Trumpy Yacht Yard (Chart House). New murals have been added downtown including the Carr’s Beach mural at The Maryland Cultural and Conference Center, a memorial mural at Pinkey’s West Street Liquor honoring Carlester Smith: The Walking Man; the newer murals of Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Courthouse, and Annapolis Taxi drivers at the Department of Transportation. These are just a few of the important stories depicted in murals, statues and public photographs which share Eastport and Annapolis stories.
Eastport United Methodist’s own Little Free Library will soon join these public art displays. EUMC has been given a Community Heritage Grant to tell a local story, and boy do we have a wonderful local story to tell! What is a Community Heritage Project, you ask? A Community Heritage Project aims “to collect, preserve, and interpret the heritage and history of a local community” usually through oral, visual, written and performing arts.
In the next month, our Little Free Library will be repainted to tell the story of two basketball rivals who became best friends − Roger “Pip” Moyer from Annapolis High School and Joseph “Zastrow” Simms from the state’s black league. They crossed racial boundaries during segregation in the 1940’s to grow a life-long friendship that took an extraordinary turn in April 1968.
As news of the murder of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. spread across the region, DC and Baltimore erupted in riots and burning. Annapolis’ young mayor, Pip Moyer turned to Zastrow for help, but first he had to get “Zas” out of jail, where he had landed after some illegal shenanigans. With the help of then Governor Spiro Agnew, Pip got Zastrow released from prison, and ― accompanied by Annapolis’ first African American policeman, George Phelps ― they walked the streets speaking to the people. While DC and Baltimore burned, Annapolis remained quiet.
The design below, depicting the two men and their story, will be painted by youth artists from the Jovenés Artistas program at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. The front library doors have portraits of the men, the back panel (in tan) shows their silhouettes, and the two sides panels (in rust brown) tell their story. Thank you Moyer Family for allowing us to memorialize our local hometown heroes, Pip and Zastrow.
~ Susan Schneider