Celebrate Maryland’s Rich African-American Heritage
BALTIMORE (Feb. 3, 2011) – Visitors to Maryland can explore the state’s rich African-American history during a number of events throughout February, including the African-American heritage walking tours in Annapolis, a Frederick Douglass personification at the Surratt House Museum in Clinton, and a festival in Landover offering African dance classes and storytellers. Tours are also offered at the largest African-American museum on the east coast, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture or visitors can walk in the footsteps of renowned Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman along Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
Over the course of her life, Tubman returned 13 times to rescue nearly 70 enslaved family and friends, risking her own life and liberty for her belief in universal freedom. Born into slavery in Dorchester County, much of Tubman’s life was centered in Maryland – a state defined historically not only by Tubman, but also by Frederick Douglass, Benjamin Banneker, Ida Aldridge, Thurgood Marshall, and countless others central to the African-American heritage story.
“Much of our nation’s African American history has roots in Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. “We welcome visitors this month and throughout the year to reflect on the remarkable journeys of the many great leaders, scholars, and pioneers who have contributed to the rich heritage we share as one nation.”
“You can visit places where Harriet Tubman lived and worked while exploring the landscapes of her life and escapes,” says Margot Amelia, director of the Maryland Office of Tourism. “We have museums, parks, historical sites, cultural centers, the nation’s first wax museum dedicated exclusively to African-Americans- we are Mary land of history. “
Here is a sampling of February events at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Banneker-Douglas Museum and throughout the state where visitors can explore Maryland’s African-American heritage:
Reginald F. Lewis Museum (www.africanamericanculture.org):
Art Workshop: Paper Bead Bangles: Children ages 6-12 create handmade paper bead bangles with recyclable materials. Program corresponds with Material Girls: Contemporary Black Women Artists. Museum admission required. February 19, 11am – 1pm.
Author Appearance & Book Signing: For More Than a Slave: The Life of Katherine Ferguson by Margaret Pagan. Book details Ferguson’s work with abolitionist and Christian communities in the 1800s. Free. February 19, 1pm.
Brothers in Blue: Uncovering Civil War Ancestors with Leslie Anderson: Genealogist Leslie Anderson discusses her research and identification of her Civil War ancestors. Museum admission required. February 26, 10:30am.
First Fridays- Mycah Chevalier: A night of soulful music with an accomplished singer; includes drinks and refreshments. Doors open at 7pm; program begins at 7:30. February 4, $15 members; $20 non-members.
Floetic Fridays- “E the Poet-Emcee & The Black Diamond Band:” $6 members, $8 non-members. February 11, 8pm.
Historical Portrait Concert: “The Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and the African-American Soldier, Oh Freedom, Oh Glory!” Musical concert with vocal artist Charles K. Sullivan. Museum admission required. February 6, 3pm.
A Legacy in the Visual Arts-The Scott-Caldwell Tradition: Artist Joyce J. Scott discusses familial visual arts traditions and her work in Material Girls: Contemporary Black Women Artists . Museum admission required. February 19, 2pm.
Li’l Dan the Drummer Boy, A Civil War Story, by Romare Bearden: Children ages 9-12 listen to the story of a young drummer during the Civil War and create their own drums. Museum admission required. February 26, 11am – noon.
Living History Presentation-Civil War and the Maryland U.S. Colored Troops: Reenactments by high school students, members of the U. S. Colored Troops History Society and Civil War re-enactor Zsunee Matema. Museum admission required. February 26, 1pm.
Material Girls: Contemporary Black Women Artists: Special exhibit celebrating modern female African-American artists, including art made from both traditional and unconventional materials. February 12 – October 16.
“Whispers of Angels, A Story of the Underground Railroad” (60-minute film): Museum admission required. February 13, 2pm.
Banneker-Douglass Museum (www.bdmuseum.com):
Banneker-Douglass Museum Family Tour: During the tour visitors will have the chance to follow in the footsteps of many famous Marylanders through hands-on activities in the museum’s Family Activity Gallery. February 5, 2011, 10:30am-12:30pm.
Community History Day: Visitors are invited to bring their favorite family and community photographs to be scanned and shared with the museum’s staff and visitors during a day of fellowship and preservation. February 26, 10:30am-12:30pm.
Living our History: An Afternoon of Stories : Learn about the lives of African American women during the Civil War through dramatic performances by living history interpreters for an afternoon of storytelling. February 12, 2-3:30pm.
Music to Our Ears: The Sounds of the African American Experience at Carr’s and Sparrow’s Beaches: Film screening and discussion. February 3, 7–8:30 pm.
Preserving African American Church History and Cemeteries Panel: Discussion and book signing with local researcher and genealogist Elinor Thompson. February 19, 2011, 1-3pm.
Other events throughout the state:
African-American Festival (Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex, Landover): Includes African dance classes, workshops, performances, storytellers, shopping opportunities. February 26, 9am-4pm.
African-American Heritage Walking Tour (Annapolis City Dock Information Booth, Annapolis): February 5, 12, 19, 26, 1pm.
Black History Month Celebration (Lexington Park Library, Lexington Park): Accomplished professional storyteller Janice Curtis Greene raps and tells folktales/original stories. Light refreshments served. Free. February 13, 2pm.
Digging up African-American History (Hampton National Historic Site, Towson): Forty-minute presentation about historic African-American communities near Towson by noted author and local historian Louis Diggs. February 13, 2pm.
Expressions of a People (Arts/Harmony Hall Regional Center, Fort Washington): Festival includes performances, children’s activities, workshop and family-friendly entertainment. February 13, 1-6pm.
Frederick Douglass’ Years in the Bayside (St. Michaels branch of the Talbot County Free Library, Easton): Speech by local researcher and historian Priscilla Morris about Douglass’ experiences on the Bayside farms between 1833 and 1836. Free. February 7, 12pm.
Interview with African-American Achievers (Calvert Library, Prince Frederick): Local students interview a panel of Achievers including Margo Gross, Dr. Marsha Plater, Judge Gregory Wells, Kevin Hawkings, Anthony Waul & Kirk Conway. February 15, 7pm.
Kennedy Farmhouse Tours (Sharpsburg): Ongoing tours at the National Historic Landmark where abolitionist John Brown and his army prepared for their 1859 raid at Harpers Ferry, considered the start of the Civil War. Contact for tour information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet Mr. Frederick Douglass (Surratt House Museum, Clinton): First-person presentation about Douglass’ life and accomplishments. February 12, 1pm.
Sunday Conversations with Chesapeake Authors (Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons): Author William Poe presents his book African Americans of Calvert County. Book signing follows. Free. February 20, 2pm.
Underground Railroad: Harriet Tubman Museum (Cambridge): Offers exhibits, films, and ongoing escorted driving tours of Tubman-related historical sites in Dorchester County. Call for schedule (410-228-0401). Open Tues. – Fri. 10am – 3pm, Sat. 12pm- 4pm. Free admission.
For more information about Maryland’s African-American heritage or to receive free Maryland travel information – by mail, call 800-719-5900. Information can also be found on the Tourism website: www.visitmaryland.org .