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African-American History

This category contains 33 posts

Curtis W. Jacobs’ Diary and Account Book, 1854–1866

Shortly past noon today, April 19, 2018, the niggling “we are forgetting something” hovering on the edges of our brains suddenly took shape. It is 157 years since Union troops on their way to Washington D.C. clashed with angry citizens on the streets of Baltimore, resulting in the Pratt Street riot, the first official bloodshed [...]

Through the Lens: Early Photography and the Cased Photograph Collection at the Maryland Historical Society

The Cased Photograph Collection in the H. Furlong Baldwin Library is a remarkable slice of photographic history. The nearly 600 item collection contains daguerreotypes, tintypes, and other examples of the earliest photographic technology. These photographs capture domestic scenes from Maryland life—family portraits, souvenir snapshots, and rare outdoor scenes. In 1839, Louis Daguerre introduced an invention [...]

Frederick Douglass: Significant Moments in His Life in Maryland in His Words

Two hundred years ago this month, Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born at Holmes Hill Farm in Talbot County, Maryland. His mother Harriet Bailey, was a slave, and it is believed that his father was Aaron Anthony, Harriet’s master and an overseer on one of the Lloyd family farms on the Eastern Shore. This child [...]

The Rise of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore and the Bethel A.M.E. Church

The Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Bethel A.M.E.) is a Baltimore landmark. It is a tribute to the city’s African American community’s fight for spiritual, as well as social and economic, equality. Methodism was particularly popular in Maryland in its earliest years. The movement’s radical approach to preaching attracted many new congregants, black and white [...]

An American Tragedy

Originally posted on November 29, 2012 Many who devote their lives to bringing about social change can recall a single incident or episode that altered their perceptions and determined their path in life. Civil rights activist Rosa Parks recalls that one of the first ways she realized the difference between “a black world and a [...]

“The darkest hours are often the harbingers of a bright dawn:” The Diary of Hester Ann Wilkins Davis

  The library recently acquired a diary kept by Hester Ann Wilkins Davis during the Civil War years. It was an exciting find as it helped complete a series of her diaries from the 1830s through the 1870s donated to the society in 1963. Throughout her adult life, Davis was an avid diarist, who kept [...]

Taking a Stand in History! National History Day Research at MdHS

Within my role in the education department at MdHS, I have the pleasure of interacting with middle and high school students who have gone the extra mile for their National History Day projects. Founded in 1974, the NHD program is the social studies equivalent of a science fair, allowing young people to apply their creativity [...]

Staff Favorites: “Behind the Scene’s At Hutzler’s”

As we’ve previously pointed out, choosing a favorite thing among millions of archival materials stored at MdHS is a practically absurd task. While this writer skews toward more modern fare, say for example photography by local heroes Paul Henderson, Robert Kniesche, or Joseph Kohl, it’s still a Sophie’s choice. Finding my arm twisted vigorously by [...]

The Negro Baseball Leagues and the Baltimore Elite Giants

Baseball is not a new game. Baseball players battled each other as early as the middle of the 19th century, although the game was quite different from today’s.  As early as the 1860s, men played baseball on an open lot on Baltimore’s Madison Avenue near Druid Hill Park. Catchers had no protective gear; a ball [...]

Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc.: Maryland’s Fair Housing Pioneer

Baltimore was a deeply troubled city after World War II. Greedy real estate agents created fear and panic among white homeowners by persuading them that their houses were about to lose their value, and that they would be ruined financially.  White families evacuated their urban neighborhoods, to be replaced by black residents. Blockbusting and racial [...]

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