The man, the myth, the legend! The story of Dr. Marlow L. Bates, better known as Marlo Stanfield, is far from your ordinary American Gangster tale. Known to many of us as just a fictional character on the HBO series The Wire, played by actor Jamie Hector, Marlow explains that he was not the “devil” that television portrayed him to be. He does, however, admit that his former lifestyle eventually led him to the penitentiary, but maintains his innocence with regards to the charges that he is currently incarcerated for. Nevertheless, even though in hindsight he admits to his wrongdoings and the role he played in Baltimore becoming a more violent city, he is and has been committed to revamping the current culture and climate in his city.
Marlow Bates Sr., who ended up being known as Marlo Stanfield, explains that the mixup came from his family dynamic. “My real name is Marlow Bates but everybody calls me Marlo Stanfield because everyone in my house had the same father except for me…but everyone in the streets thought we all had the same father so they call me Marlo Stanfield ‘til this day.” Marlow, who made a name for himself in the streets of B-More at an early age, attributes his early mistakes in life to being illiterate. Alcohol abuse by the age of 13 combined with anger from being unable to read until the age of 25, led him down the wrong path, which was a lifestyle consumed with violence and drugs.
According to Marlow, after being wrongfully accused, Judge Robert I. H. Hammerman sentenced him to life plus 20 years for murder, another life sentence for conspiracy to commit murder, and 20 years for a gun possession charge. Marlow, who could have easily given up on life or submerged himself in the negative operations within the prison system, took a very different approach. Since being incarcerated he has devoted himself to redefining his life through positive works and education. Now, Dr. Bates is committed to the people of Baltimore and wants to help put an end to the violence in the city.
Being productive would be an understatement when describing Dr. Bates. After being certified in multiple disciplines and graduating from an array of graduate and master’s level programs while incarcerated, (including but not limited to a Master’s degree in religion and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Religion), Marlow continued on his journey for self-reform and rehabilitation. While being housed in a maximum security facility in Maryland, he has managed to accomplish more than most people will during their lives. Dr. Bates states that he is able to get a lot of written work done while being a sanitation man on his tier. In fact, over the course of his sentence he has written 18 plays, 20 screenplays, 23 novels including an autobiography, 700 short stories/children’s books, 52 songs, 500+ commercials, 300 greeting cards, and two clothing lines, which are all copyrighted. Dr. Bates, who himself is very humble and modest, is most proud of his two books “The Master Key to Our Cities” & “God Saved Me.” He believes that the younger generation can get to know more about both God and building businesses through these two works of art and encourages readers of all ages to get in tune with his movement.
In addition, along with the assistance of his partner Ms. Lisa Cohen, the two partnered up to establish The Going Home for Good and Recovery Coalition of Maryland, which is a non profit organization geared towards assisting prisoners. The program is all about uplifting the community and bringing forth a positive change, while helping prisoners with filling out paperwork for release from incarceration as well as aiding them with transitioning back into society. “The people that I help are who motivate me to keep doing what I’m doing and that is uplifting them. I know my calling is for me to uplift people. I have been doing that for as far back as I can remember.”
When asked how he sees himself he responded that he is, “someone who is really for the people. If I am willing to die for them, I know I can live for them.” He believes that he will make a huge difference through educating and bringing about awareness. Rather than offering advice, Marlow suggests that everyone needs to read both “The Master Key to Our Cities” & “God Saved Me,” because it’ll teach them all about how to grow a business, own a home, and form a deeper and more profound relationship with God. At this stage in life, his top priority is to spread love and replace hate with support and building each other up within our communities. In closing he shared the motto that he lives by is the golden rule: “simply treat people the way you want to be treated.”
You can support Marlo by signing his “Letter to the World, Free Marlo Stanfield, Signature Petition.”
Written by: By Corey Dishmen