MD -- Baltimore Convention Center:
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- BCCEN_230910_35.JPG: FRANCES ELLEN WATKINS HARPER
This poet, novelist, orator, and essayist was born in Baltimore on September 24, 1825, and was the only child of her free parents. After she was orphaned as a child, she lived with an aunt on Camden Street and attended a school for free African Americans which was on Sharp Street and was run by her uncle, William J. Watkins. After her formal education, she worked as a live-in maid with a white family, the Armstrongs, whose bookstore and family library further enhanced her education and her interest in poetry. About 1846 she published her first volume of poems, Forest Leaves. In 1850 she left Baltimore for a teaching position in Ohio. In 1860 she married Fenton Harper, who died in 1864. They had one child, Mary. Although Harper's work would take her around the country and into many states, the latter part of her life was spent in Philadelphia.
Frances Harper published nine other volumes of poems over the years 1854-1900, with varied subjects, but usually with strong social and religious emphases. Her novel Iola Leroy was published in 1892, and she also published short fiction and essays. During most of her career she was equally as well known as a crusader for human rights and as a compelling orator on many subjects, including slavery, interracial harmony and equality, women's rights, temperance, and education. She also was influential in various local and national organizations and activities concerning all of these. Sometimes referred to as " The Bronze Muse," Harper was one of the most outstanding and best known of nineteenth century African American writers and orators.
Donated by The George Moses Horton Society for the Study of African American Poetry.
- Wikipedia Description: Baltimore Convention Center
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Baltimore Convention Center is a convention and exhibition hall located in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. The Center is a municipal building owned and operated by the City of Baltimore. The facility was constructed in two separate phases: the original Center, with 425,000 square feet (39,500 m2) of exhibition and meeting space, opened in August 1979 at a cost of $51.4 million. A $151 million expansion, which increased the Center's total size to 1,225,000 square feet (113,800 m2), was completed in April 1997. The 752-room, city-owned Hilton Baltimore hotel opened in August 2008, connected to the convention center by an enclosed skywalk bridge. Another expansion to the Baltimore Convention Center has been proposed at an estimated cost of $400 million that includes a new 500 room hotel and an 18,500 seat arena; this project is estimated to cost $900 million.
As was the case with Harborplace, which opened in 1980; the Maryland Science Center, which opened in 1976; and the National Aquarium in Baltimore, which opened in 1981, the Convention Center was intended to be a catalyst for tourism, an important part of the City's post-manufacturing economic development plans. An Abell Foundation report in June 2005 describes the Convention Center as having been "built as an economic development tool to attract to Baltimore conventions, trade shows, and meetings that would leave in the city millions of dollars spent on lodging, food, entertainment, and other services." (Controversy, 2005, p. 3) A report on economic development in the area, entitled Subsidizing the Low Road: Economic Development in Baltimore, states that "public and non-profit facilities such as the Maryland Science Center, the World Trade Center, the Convention Center, and the National Aquarium" (Subsidizing, 2002, p. 11) were part of then-mayor Schaefer's "focus on real estate, retailing and tourism sectors" (p. 10), as areas for growth, as well as his utilization of "'public/private partnerships' to pursue economic development" (p. 11).
During the next two decades, due in part to the success of the Convention Center and the other attractions, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, M&T Bank Stadium, Power Plant Live!, and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History, have joined the area, creating a ten-block plus entertainment and cultural destination at Baltimore's Inner Harbor, further increasing tourist dollars flowing into the region.
A June 2005 Greater Baltimore Committee report on tourism in Baltimore illustrates the importance of tourism in the current Baltimore region's economy:
Hospitality and tourism and the convention industry are vital components of the region’s economy. According to the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association (BACVA), spending from domestic travelers in 2002 was $8.476 billion statewide; $2.8 billion in Baltimore alone. This spending supported $719 million in state and local taxes while providing over 44,000 regional jobs.(Voices, 2005)
One major convention held in the convention center is Otakon, a convention that focuses on anime and other facets of East Asian culture. The convention has resided in the Baltimore Convention Center since 1999. In 2013, the convention attracted 34,211 people. However, organizers of that convention announced at the close of the 2013 event plans to move to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC for at least five years starting in 2017. Convention officials cited space concerns, along with the uncertainty of construction plans for the convention center and a new arena. According to WBAL-TV, Baltimore's local NBC news affiliate, due to the pending departure of Otakon in 2017 to Washington D.C., concerns were mounting regarding Baltimore's economic future when it came to tourism.
The Convention Center is also viewed as important to the recent development on Baltimore's West Side. According to Ronald M. Kreitner, executive director of West Side Renaissance Inc., the "Convention Center will help contribute to the success of the theatres and the retail," referring to the development of the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center/Hippodrome Theatre, as well as new retail ventures in the area. (Renaissance, 2003)
By 2013, the center was playing a major role in the city's tourism growth, with conventions, seminars, conferences and exhibitions helping boost visitor numbers that year to 23.9 million, and expenditure by visitors to $5.15 billion. Visit Baltimore President Tom Noonan noted in July 2014 Baltimore was leading other cities in terms of future convention center bookings, through until 2021.
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