Education

Malden Census Committee strives for a Complete Count!

By MaryLouise Torres  A volunteer census committee in Malden is rushing to beat the Sept. 30 deadline to ensure every resident is counted for the 2020 U.S. Census.  The Malden Census Complete Count Committee, composed of city officials, city employees, community leaders, and residents, has been taking actions ranging from holding meetings to distributing flyers to hanging banners. The committee, chaired by Kathleen Manning Hall, Administrative Officer with the Mayor’s Office, and Alex Pratt, Community Development Director at the Malden Redevelopment Authority, was stymied by restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the committee reconvened on Aug. 11 and is back to work.  “This is probably one of the craziest years I can remember in my entire life,” Manning Hall said. “Malden has done OK up to this point, but we need to do better.” In July, only about 59.7 percent of Malden residents had responded to the census – that rate was 5.2 points behind the 2010 rate.  But by Aug. 18, committee members excitedly reported that the response rate had jumped significantly in just the last […]

Featured

Malden Reads mulls book selection for 2021

By Heather Barry Earlier this summer, as the Malden Reads steering committee began its book selection process for 2021, it faced a season and mood in the community and country very different from its previous ten years. On top of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has been wracked with a coming to terms of 400 years of systemic racism, sparked by the murder of George Floyd, and brought to life by protestors from coast to coast.  These important and ongoing events informed the discussions of this year’s books. Once the book is selected, Malden Reads will invite the community of Malden to read the book and participate in a series of events related to the book’s themes. “At the end of the day, we want to point people toward a quality book with an important story that needs to be heard,” said Steering Committee member Martha Bezzat. “This particular year, we were open to themes about the ongoing crisis of racism, the trauma of the global pandemic, and resilience in communities.” She added, “The journey to […]

Arts

Comics Writer, Polyamorous, Feminist: William Moulton Marston

By Sky Malerba William Moulton Marston, a psychologist partially responsible for the invention of the polygraph, is most famous for the creation of the DC superhero Wonder Woman. He introduced his heroine in 1941 in the issue All-Star Comics #8 and its 2nd part, Sensation Comics #1, the next year.  This week, William Moulton Marston is the subject for Malden Arts Mondays, a two-month long celebration of artists and figures associated with Malden.  Born in the Cliftondale section of Saugus, Marston attended high school in Malden (MHS Class of 1911), graduated from Harvard University and was a professor at Tufts University. Marston, a self proclaimed political historian, was interested in the women’s suffrage movement of the 1920s, as well as activism of women’s rights and advocacy of birth control. Marston had a clear understanding of women’s position in society and wanted to create a strong role model for young girls as he believed they were the stronger sex, and their capacity for love was part of that strength. In the magazine The American Scholar in 1943, he writes, “Women’s strong qualities have become […]

Education

Malden River Loop Dedication: The Story of Louise Stokes

By Amanda Hurley Joggers and bikers huffing and puffing on the new 3.2 mile Malden River Loop may draw inspiration from a Malden athlete who faced both Jim Crow and Adolf Hitler as she pursued her passion for running.   Louise Stokes, a Malden native, is considered the first African-American woman to qualify for an Olympic team. Earlier this summer, the bike loop – which runs along the Malden River and spans three cities, Malden, Everett and Medford— was dedicated to Stokes and former clerk magistrate of Malden District Court, Joseph Croken. Malden City Councillor-at-Large Stephen Winslow conceived of the Malden River Loop project and enlisted the help of graphic artist Elena Martinez of Artfort Design Studio in August of 2019. Martinez recalled that she and Winslow “met at the Joy of Biking Sculpture near Anthony’s” and chatted as they walked the trail. Winslow was “inspired by the chance interactions – just a friendly hi or wave of the hand – that might happen during your time on the trail and the ever-changing landscape of buildings […]

Arts

Sketching for Twenty-five Years: Malden Sketch Group

By Sharon Santillo Like a small acorn that grew into a large tree, a small grant  given to the Malden Sketch Group 25 years ago led to one of the longest lasting drawing groups in the Greater Boston area.  “I thought it would only last as long as the initial grant, but look what that seed money has done,” said Fred Seager, one of the founders.  Another founder was Nunzio Luca. “He was a much admired head of the Malden High School Art Department for years, and was a wonderful artist, mentor, and good friend,” Seager said.  Nunzio and Seager decided to get a life drawing group together and they set out to find a space. “We were fortunate also to have the early support of Neicei Degen and Nana Goldberg who were facilitators of the cultural center building, an old fire station on Pearl Street. It housed elderly day care during the day and was open for rental at night,” Seager said. Seager applied for a grant from the Malden Arts Council and was awarded $250. This modest […]

Arts

Keep Drawing, Keep (Th)inking: the Keith Knight Story

By Sky Malerba Born and raised in Malden, MA, cartoonist, rapper, teacher and activist Keith Knight delighted in drawing since early childhood. This week, Keith Knight is the subject for Malden Arts Mondays, a two-month long celebration of artists and figures associated with Malden.  “I always used to draw on walls, and draw in class, and I’d never get in trouble for it, in fact, I kept on getting higher grades,” he said of his school experiences.  He drew cartoons based on George Orwell’s Animal Farm and used portraits of his  classmates and teachers as an analogue to a character in the story. “You should be doing a syndicated cartoon,” his teacher  told  him. That was the beginning  of Keith Knight’s career as a highly regarded American cartoonist 20 years ago. Knight graduated from Malden High in 1984 and after a brief stint as a professional Michael Jackson impersonator in the 1980s,  he created perhaps his most memorable in the 1990s. The K Chronicles was a weekly autobiographical comic strip, published  in The San Francisco Examiner and then […]

Arts

A Dragon Hugs the Corner: Wah Lum Academy Embraces Unity Amid a Pandemic

By Amanda DeRosa  Sifu Mai Du of the Wah Lum Academy in Malden often tells her students, “Under every roof there is a story.” So, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to close her martial arts studio on March 10, at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Ferry Street, and board up the windows, Mai Du knew she had to do something to continue to tell the story of Wah Lum. “A boarded-up corner didn’t sit well with me,” she says.    She and some of her artistically talented students hatched a plan to transform the more than 400 square feet of blank plywood into a radiant message of solidarity. Beginning on July 19, a group of artists and volunteers began painting a mural on the boarded-up windows. Today, a dragon snakes around the corner, embracing Guardian Foo Dogs, Lion dancers, and a community united. The work is ongoing.  Wah Lum Academy is not simply another school, Wah Lum is a communal space where members look forward to visiting on a regular basis; it’s an intimate place where […]

Education

For the defense: Author Erle Stanley Gardner

By Sky Malerba Erle Stanley Gardner was a powerful force of nature. He was a towering, commanding defense attorney and a prolific author who created the archetype of the fearless defense attorney.  And the native city of the man who brought us Perry Mason was Malden, MA. This week, Erle Stanley Gardner is the subject for Malden Arts Mondays, a two-month long celebration of artists and figures associated with Malden.  In 1899 at 10 years of age, Gardner’s family left their Malden home and moved to Oregon to a mining camp. When he was kicked out of Valparaiso University School of Law in Indiana for brawling with his professor, he pursued legal education in California. In Oxnard, California, he would become a successful defense attorney defending poor Chinese and Mexican immigrants who police often used as scapegoats for poorly investigated crimes. Although his legal career provided a steady income, he  found it was not stimulating enough and and he turned to writing, particularly for the  rakish world of cheap pulp magazines, much to his family’s disapproval. During these years he wrote under such pseudonyms as A.A. Fair, […]

Featured

He Ripped Off An Ear and Became a Legend: Killer Kowalski

By Sky Malerba Killer Kowalski never intended to go into  professional sports. However, he eventually became one of the most feared and simultaneously admired villains in professional wrestling. For many years, he ran a popular wrestling school in Malden. This week, Killer Kowalski is the subject for Malden Arts Mondays, a two-month long celebration of artists and figures associated with Malden.  Born Edward Władysław Spulnik on Oct. 13, 1926,  Kowalski began training at a YMCA at age 14 when he was lanky and already over six feet tall. Although he planned to become an electrical engineer, he saw opportunities in the world of professional wrestling and attended a wrestling school. As a son of Polish immigrants who was raised in Ontario, he learned he could make a solid living being a wrestler. He would come to prominence when the emerging popularity of television created a golden age of professional wrestling.  Kowalski took on a number of different identities as his wrestling persona evolved, as influenced by the technique of his craft. His names cycled through different strongman archetypes: Hercules, Tarzan, the more tame […]

Arts

Perle Fine: Painting Through Barriers

By Sky Malerba In a world of male artists and curators, Boston born, Malden-raised Perle Fine never quite got the acclaim owed to her. An abstractionist and a constructor of collage, Fine was shaped by the avant-guard scene of the early to mid 20th century in New York City. Fine is the selection for Week Four of Malden Arts Mondays, a two-month long celebration of artists and figures who have lived in Malden. Fine’s career arguably picked up steam in May of 1943 when two of her paintings were entered into and featured in Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century museum. Two years later Fine would enjoy her first solo exhibition in 1945 at the Willard Gallery. Gradually, Fine integrated herself into artist communities where she socialized with other expressionists in clubs like the Betty Parsons Gallery, in 1948 — an atmosphere not unlike the enlightenment groups in 19th century French salons. She congregated with the likes of Clyfford Still Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and others. By the 1960s Perle Fine was a lecturer and associate professor and is cited as […]