Letting Wax Hannibal Lead the Charge in Baltimore, Maryland
Quirky Baltimore didn’t bat an eye when Elmer and Joanne Martin founded the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum—founded in their two-bedroom apartment with life-sized replicas of Frederick Douglas and three other famous Blacks purchased on a layaway plan. In fact, the city chipped in an unused firehouse to permanently house the collection that now includes black athletes and astronauts, cowboys and kings. Today, Hannibal greets visitors from atop his elephant in the lobby. Field-trippers shriek with laughter when one boy stretches his hand toward a resplendent Marcus Garvey and quickly snaps it back. The absence of spirit revealed in the figure’s vacant gaze has provoked a sudden case of the heebie-jeebies. The group agrees that Wax Obama looks younger than the flesh and bones version. Don’t miss the glassy-eyed likeness of Henry “Box” Brown, who in 1849 climbed inside a cramped wooden box and mailed himself to freedom.