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After rioting shook Baltimore five years ago, some seeds of change were planted. Only a few took hold.

In a vacant rowhouse down the street from where Freddie Gray was arrested five years ago, in the wake of the rioting that erupted after his death in police custody, Tubman House was born.

Meant to provide a gathering space and fresh produce for its Sandtown-Winchester neighbors, it was among a host of initiatives large and small, governmental and community-based that emerged in response to the unrest like the green shoots now poking through the soil of the house’s garden.

Everyone, it seemed, wanted to address what they saw as the root causes of the fury — from issues of policing and criminal justice to inequities in education and jobs to the grinding poverty that underlies it all.

“People rushed in, only to leave a short time later,” said Dominique Conway, who founded the house.

“Freddie Gray was a moment for a lot of people. But here in the community, he was a real individual. He was a son of the community.”

In years past, the house hosted an annual event to commemorate Gray’s death April 19, 2015, but not this year due to the continuing ban on gatherings that might spread the coronavirus.

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