Paper History: Malden man’s passionate poster collection

By Jennifer McClain Tree-lined, long flat roads with large grassy areas greet you on the way into the town of Norfolk. It is a sparsely populated town with a centrally located library. This is exactly the kind of place where Stephen Lewis wants to mount an exhibit from his expansive poster collection, even though he is a long-time Malden resident. Lewis, a former union organizer and poster collector, believes his mission is to bring these posters to those who live in suburban and rural areas where interaction with this type of art is less likely.  He also likes the serendipity involved in showcasing in libraries or colleges; it allows viewers to stumble into this work without spending money or planning a visit. Lewis has been collecting posters for the past 22 years at both union and activist conferences and has now accumulated more than  7,000  posters. He stages about three exhibits a month, usually each centered on a theme.  He has shown his Cuban posters in Worcester,  revolutionary posters in Pepperell,  and “Stop Violence Against Women” posters […]


Could “Smart Growth” guide Malden’s development?

By the staff of Neighborhood View The second in a series exploring the future of  development in Malden. See part one here.   Today we have  many “trigger” words to avoid in certain places, and apparently the word “growth” is one of them at Malden City Council meetings. That’s according to councilor Steve Winslow, with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor. The use of the word “growth” has been contentious in Malden ever since a November 2015 vote to approve a one-year moratorium on multi-family development of  more than 5 units outside the Central Business District. In  January  2017, the city council extended the moratorium through the end of June to allow for additional study and expanded it to include the Central Business District.  Yet, a growing cadre of Malden residents is  pushing for  the city  to consider an approach  called “Smart Growth” and Winslow counts himself among its proponents. Indeed, he said, “What we have on the Council right now is a few advocates for smart growth vs. no growth at all.” But what is Smart Growth? […]


Art treasures at the library: Lincoln at Gettysburg

By Jennifer McClain This is the first in a series on “Treasures at the Library.” Please note that direct photographs of artwork at the library is not permitted. You may think of Malden Public Library as a place for books, but the library has a surprisingly impressive art collection. One of its  startlingly monumental paintings is “Lincoln at Gettysburg,” by Albion Harris Bicknell (1837-1915). To examine this painting, please click on this link. That the Gettysburg address on Nov. 19, 1861, was astounding speech of eloquence by Abraham Lincoln on that day is well known. Less well-known are the other attendees on that event. According an art collection website from Lafayette College, “Lincoln at Gettysburg” was painted in the late 1870s or early 1880s.  Bicknell depicts  20 important Union leaders, some who did not actually attend the ceremony. In a letter to the Malden Public Library, the National Park Service said the Bicknell work was the only painting made of the dedication of the national cemetery at Gettysburg. All of the twenty men represented in the […]


Is “Smart Growth” the future for Malden?

Should Malden stop regarding growth as a problem and instead see it as an opportunity? By the staff of Neighborhood View, the first in a series exploring the future of  development in Malden . In its 350-year-plus history, Malden has transformed itself over and over again. Today, the city  is in the midst of another transformation that may chart its history for decades to come. Let’s start with a little  history.  In the 18th and 19th century,  Malden was mostly farmland and dairy farms, amid hills and woodlands north of the Mystic River. By the early 1900s, it was a bustling urban area with five movie theaters, a popular Jordan Marsh department store, and a growing population of both immigrants and those who had settled here centuries before. Much of the city’s housing stock dates to the 1920s and the city steadily grew and prospered until the 1950s. The population started to decline in the 1960s and by the 1970s, Malden was mired in an economic malaise that affected much of New England. In the 1980s, the […]


Enough: Malden High walks out to advocate for gun control

A day later than anticipated, but with no less enthusiasm,  students from  Malden Public Schools walked out of class on Thursday, March 15,  to highlight the need for action in the wake of the tragic shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14. At about 10 a.m., students assembled in front of the entrance to the high school’s Jenkins Auditorium and heard speeches by fellow students. The walk-out was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but due to snow, the schools were closed. Thanks to social media, student organizers regrouped and held the walkout on Thursday. Angela Soliz, a junior and one of the event organizers, told her fellow classmates that the NRA’s influence was in fact making them all unsafe. “What about the right to live?” she asked. Meghan Yip, a senior and also one of the event organizers, said her life can be measured by the  mass shooting at schools. She turned 18 on March 1; she  noted that two  weeks prior, while Malden was sharing Valentine wishes, 17 lives were […]


Malden Reads kickoff celebrates reading, collaboration and community

For the first time in the eight-year history of the Malden Reads program, the 2018 kickoff event was held at Malden High School on Feb. 15. Usually staged in the Converse Memorial Building of the Malden Public Library, the kickoff emphasized the intergenerational nature of the book choice, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, a young adult novel that can be enjoyed and appreciated by all ages. The Malden Reads committee collaborated with the student-run Black Culture Club at Malden High School to host an event that was inclusive and celebratory as well as profoundly moving, challenging and inspiring, which reflected the book’s topical themes. “One of the things that I think is really exciting about this joint venture between Malden Reads and the high school is the way it’s showcasing student voice and issues that are relevant to students, starting some great conversations among students, educators and community members,” said Sean Walsh, Malden High School English teacher and Drama Director, who was involved in the collaborations. The event featured exhibit tables from a […]


Forum to highlight defense of transgender rights

By Jennifer McClain A forum to draw attention to the need to safeguard newly won transgender rights will be held Wednesday,  Feb. 21  at 7 p.m. at the First Parish Church  in Malden. Sponsored by  Freedom for All Massachusetts, the forum aims to build support for Bill S.735, which went into effect in October, but is now facing a repeal drive. Bill S.735, which was passed with a supermajority of votes in both legislative chambers, expands protections against discrimination for transgender people and allows transgender people to use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. While Gov. Charlie Baker was cheered by many when he signed Bill S.735 in May 2016, opponents of the legislation immediately began organizing to put a repeal of the law on a state-wide ballot in November 2018. Opponents include groups such as the the Massachusetts Family Institute,  which has attacked the bill with statements such as, “What we have today is the sacrifice of common sense and the abdication of responsibility by both houses of the legislature and now […]


Commissioner sees “once in a lifetime” opportunity in legal pot retail

Shaleen Title, a Malden resident and a commissioner with the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, said that the final changes are being made to the state’s new rules for recreational marijuana sales and that she welcomes comments from the public as the last details are being worked out. In a video interview with Malden Neighborhood View, Title said she expects the final regulations to be issued in March and sales to begin this summer.  In November 2016, Massachusetts citizens voted to legalize recreational marijuana; the state Legislature later made changes to the law, which “made the program better,” said Title,  an attorney and activist who helped author the marijuana ballot question. “Because we are the first state to do this, it is very much expected that there will be tweaks that will need to be made; that’s part of the process.” Title told Guillermo Hamlin, Neighborhood View reporter. She added, “I think Massachusetts is going to be a role model.” Title encouraged the public find out more information about the process of getting a license for the […]