Owners' Counsel of America Awards the Crystal Eagle to Sonia Eaddy and Nicole King

For Their Efforts on Behalf of the Poppleton Neighborhood

At Owners' Counsel of America's Annual Dinner held on Feb. 4, 2023, in Austin, TX, the Crystal Eagle was awarded jointly to two extraordinary women. Sonia Eaddy is a homeowner and community activist, and Nicole King is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland in Baltimore County. The award was given in recognition of their tireless efforts to save the historic black neighborhood of Poppleton, an area in west Baltimore that has been all but eradicated in order to make way for what many have described as an ill-conceived, poorly planned, and largely failed urban renewal project. Although this project came into existence nearly 50 years ago and resulted in the eventual destruction of over 500 private properties, very little redevelopment has taken place. Meanwhile, the neighborhood of Poppleton has been left to suffer the loss of its homes, shops, businesses, and cultural connections. 

But instead of giving up and simply leaving, the residents of Poppleton fought back. Sonia Eaddy's inspirational leadership and Professor Nicole King's knowledge and research of how urban renewal has decimated black and brown communities across America, but particularly in Baltimore, proved invaluable in changing hearts and minds. They have now convinced city officials to withdraw the eminent domain taking of Sonia Eaddy's home and several historic town homes. But these two remarkable women are not done fighting. They understand that the movement they started is far bigger than any one or two people. They intend to continue their grassroots community effort to force the City to consider the needs and desires of all stakeholders in any redevelopment that should take place, but particularly the residents of Poppleton. 

"Sonia Eaddy and Nicole King embody the exact ideals that OCA seeks to honor with the Crystal Eagle award," says Leslie Fields, Executive Director of OCA. "Working together over a span of many years, with the legal assistance and help of OCA Member Joseph Suntum, they remained steadfast in their commitment to protect and defend the fundamental rights of private property owners. I have no doubt that they will prevail in their ultimate goal of making sure that the people most impacted by redevelopment have a meaningful role in deciding what actually gets developed." 

Source: Owners' Counsel of America


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