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In Vacant Baltimore Home, Gray-Inspired Groups Find New Life

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The upheaval that rocked Baltimore a year ago is still a fresh memory but as time passes, it will become history.

Alex DeMetrick reports on efforts to keep that history from fading away.

Away from the formal galleries of Maryland's historical society, history is being preserved one click at a time.

"This institution has really been focused more on the past and this is something that will eventually become historical," said Maryland Historical Society CEO Mark Letzer.

A digital archive of last year's uprising following the death of Freddie Gray. Photos, videos and recordings sent to the Historical Society by people who witnessed it. It's a first for the organization.

"It happened in the moment; we reacted the moment the unrest started taking place. We realized history was in the making," Letzer said.

"We currently have about 2,000 photographs on the site that are public. There are probably another 5,000 we are working on," said Joe Tropea, digital projects coordinator.

"Oh my gosh, it was crazy to say the least. A very electric atmosphere," said freelance photographer Jamal Lawson.

Lawson has his own gallery on the website. He describes his favorite shot:

"There's a little boy with his fist up in the air and just kind of celebrating during that time some of the things that were going on," he said.

The technology that makes this project possible also opens up new sources for history.

"Anyone can send this stuff and everyone's voice can potentially be counted," Letzer said.

College student Angela Koukoui is interning on the archive.

"Being a person who loves history, I'm envisioning 20-40 years from now, my kids and grandkids, give them the opportunity to view things. They get to understand what happened during those times. Having your own perspective is such a rich part of having your own culture," she said.

Stay with WJZ as we mark one year since Freddie Gray's death and the unrest in the city. We will keep you updated on how the city is moving on and remembering the time in our history.

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