Arabber Preservation Society

Quotes and Bibliography on Arabbing

"Holler, holler, holler, till my throat get sore.

If it wasn't for the pretty girls, I wouldn't have to holler no more.

I say, Watermelon! Watermelon!

Got em red to the rind, lady" - Earl Dorsey, Arabber

Baltimore Afro-American Editorial (1994). "Arabbing - A Baltimore tradition." April 23.

" 'Arabbing' is a term used to describe the activities of a group of small entrepreneurs -- mostly Black and male -- who for more decades than anyone can remember have hired horses and carts to carry a variety of food items to the neighborhoods of Baltimore."

"We have no quarrel with efforts to protect the horses, but we feel that the Health Department's proposal to totally ban their use for 'arabbing' is probably too severe a restriction. Certainly measures can be adopted to protect the horses, without an outright ban."

"We would also point out that while it is easy to destroy a tradition -- and we have ample evidence of this all around us -- it is most difficult to create one."

Baltimore Sun Editorial (1994). "Baltimore's Threatened Arabbers." Baltimore Sun, April 25.

'But with so many city and private sector efforts now directed at increasing Baltimore's attraction as a tourist destination, isn't there a way to keep arabbing alive? The colorful carts, the shouts of the vendors -- these are part of the city's flavor we would hate to lose."

Battle, Ursala V. (1994). "Long Tradition of 'Arabbing' may soon be a thing of the past." The Baltimore Afro-American. April 23. p. 1 and 2.

"They conveniently come to your door, and for many of Baltimore's elderly and housebound, they often serve as a 'market on wheels'.

"People think that Arabbers are classless people. We feel that they are easily taken advantage of. We are not going to allow people to mistreat the Arabs and just be concerned about animals. You have to be concerned about both." - Zatella Giles, President of the Social Action Committee, Ray of Hope Baptist Church.

"Come in and help them - don't just shut them down." - Zatella Giles, President of the Social Action Committee, Ray of Hope Baptist Church.

I'm anxious to see the horses back on the streets. That spells jobs for people who would ordinarily be homeless or out on the streets." - The Reverend C.M. Franklin, pastor of Ray of Hope Baptist Church.

Hilson Jr., Robert (1995). "A tradition fading away." Baltimore Sun. October 3. p. 1B.

"They lead a seemingly rural lifestyle replete with an innocent down-home allure --watermelon and trout traveling salesman ..."

"Fatback used his a-rabbing profits to put a "slew" of his 16 children through college."

"It's honest work by people who want to work hard and maybe have a little fun doing it."

"But it's just something that you enjoy, the people, the horses, stables, the everything else. It's what I've been doing for a very long time." - Eugene 'Fatback' Allen (Arabber for 55 years).

"We providing a service for a lot of people who can't always get to the store themselves. We bring it to them. A lot of people who buy what I've got depend on me." - Ronald "Ninny" Upshaw (Arabber for 15 years).

New York Times (1995). "Fewer Produce Peddlers Tread Baltimore Streets - A Century of Tradition May Give Way. " November 12. p. 26

"Boom Boom knows how to make his horse cart look like a gourmet produce market on wheels."

" Mr. Morris (animal control investigation supervisor) has heard this criticism before, but he rejects the (Maryland Horse) coalition's stance that the horses don't belong in the city."

Rasmussen, Fred (1994). Obituaries - "Walter A. Kratz, 70, owned stables." Baltimore Sun, May 5. p. 3B.

"His heart will always be in the alleys and streets of Southwest Baltimore" - Father Michael J. Roach of St. Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church.

Cohen, Charles (1995). "Horsing Around - Baltimore's Arabbers Are the Last of a Dying Breed." City Paper, January 3. p. 15-17.

"They tell Depression stories, of days when they could make it through the week with a dollar, when Cabbage would go through the streets selling fish, yelling, "Five cents fish, man; bring your dishpan."

"I go back a long time. And the kids, they have kids of their own and they bring the children around the stables here to see the horses." - Fatback (Eugene Allen), an Arabber

"...the term is most likely from street Arab, which was used to describe homeless children. - Mary Markey, City Life Museums."

"The arabbers can't afford large luxurious stalls and rolling fields for the horse, but that doesn't mean the animals cannot be kept healthy in the city." - Daniel Van Allen, President - Arabber Preservation Society."

Contact The Arabber Preservation Society, Dan Van Allen, President, 410-385-1277
118 S. Arlington Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21223

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