It’s interesting how some historians paint Mayor Mahool as an effective mayoral administrator, yet downplay his legacy as the first big city mayor to blatantly institutionalize racism:
On May 15, 1911, Baltimore Mayor J. Barry Mahool signed into law an ordinance for “preserving the peace, preventing conflict and ill feeling between the white and colored races in Baltimore City.” This ordinance provided for the use of separate blocks by African American and whites and was the first such law in the nation directly aimed at segregating black and white homeowners. This article considers the historical significance of Baltimore’s first housing segregation law.
Some also neglect to mention his father was a Confederate Army officer:
Mr. Mahool’s family is well known in Baltimore County as well as in Baltimore City. His father, Col. James Mahool, was an officer in the Confederate Army.
From the Baltimore Sun:
Racial segregation has a long history in Baltimore. In 1911, Mayor J. Barry Mahool and the City Council passed the country’s first racially restrictive zoning law. It prohibited members of one racial group from buying a house in a block dominated by another race. When the Supreme Court struck that down in 1917, Baltimore had another response: Neighborhoods such as Roland Park required homeowners to sign covenants barring African-Americans.”We’re the genesis of where there was the apartheid practice in the United States,” said Lawrence Brown, an African-American community activist and professor of health policy and management at Morgan State University. “Baltimore is a city that has not escaped the legacy of these very restrictive apartheid-type legacies.”Roland Park is still largely white, Brown pointed out, and city neighborhoods remain largely segregated.