Going viral is clearly both a blessing and a curse. One day, Baltimore resident Toya Graham is “America’s Mom” with the world at her beck and call. The next, she is fielding a waning number of calls from news outlets eager to keep up with her and the son who made her insta-famous. This intriguing story by Washington Post reporter Terrence McCoy is one of those articles you mark #forlaterreading. You will truly be upset with yourself if you forget to do just that.
Here’s a taste of this in-depth piece on the mom who didn’t want him to become the next Freddie Gray and then go to the site to read the rest.
“The most famous mom in Baltimore is uneasy. It is noon on a Wednesday, and she is six hours into her shift driving addicts from a halfway house to a treatment center. She has only made $60 so far today, which is not nearly enough. She withdraws an eviction notice from her purse. It says she owes $1,381.50. Ten bucks an hour is not going to cut it.
If you do not know Toya Graham by name, you know her by what she did. At the apex of the Baltimore riots, as the city buckled under the weight of Freddie Gray’s controversial death, Graham strode into the maelstrom clad in a blazing yellow shirt to find her rebellious son. And when she did, she clobbered the youth, meting out the discipline that millions of Americans, watching it unfold on television, thought he deserved.
Toya Graham, who until that moment was just another struggling mother in a city full of them, became the hero of a Baltimore story without one. She was the avenging mother, determined to save her boy from social forces ravaging her community. A YouTube video of her striking her son shot past 6 million views, then 7 million, then 8 million. There was a parade of interviews — with Anderson, with Whoopi, with Gayle. Oprah called. The media crowned Graham “Baltimore’s Hero Mom” and the “Mother of the Year.”
Read the rest HERE.
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VP, Head of Digital Editorial