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African-American History

This category contains 27 posts

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 [...]

Baltimore Sanitary Fair Sesquicentennial

The 1864 Baltimore Sanitary Fair (April 18-April 30) provided the large-scale vehicle for Maryland’s Unionist women to bring together both of their benevolent and patriotic impulses. Other cities across the Union, such as Chicago and Boston, previously coordinated such events. Proceeds from these affairs swelled the coffers of the U.S. Christian and the U.S. Sanitary [...]

History Engaging Youth: Studying Civil Rights History in Maryland

As communities across Maryland and the rest of the country continue to grapple with significant divisions and persistent inequality, people of all walks of life struggle to make sense of the current landscape. How did we get to this point, and what can we do to make positive change? As educators in a museum setting, [...]

The Chocolate Dandies: Blake and Sissle’s other Musical

On April 28 of this year, Baltimore born ragtime and jazz pianist and composer Eubie Blake and his partner Noble Sissles’ most famous work, Shuffle Along, will open on Broadway, nearly 100 years after its initial run. In 1921, Shuffle Along transformed Broadway and left a far reaching cultural and social legacy. But the pair also produced [...]

“White Enough to Pass”: Uncovering the story of John Wesley Gibson

“John Wesley Gibson represented himself to be not only the slave, but also the son of William Y. Day, of Taylor’s Mount, Maryland…” This is the opening statement of a slave narrative that tells the story of a man who chose freedom in a place and time that allowed slavery — Maryland in the 1850s. [...]

Thomas Poppleton’s Surveyor’s Map that Made Baltimore, 1822

Between 1776 and 1820 Baltimore grew like kudzu on a riverbank.  Geographically three settlements, the original town, Old town and Fell’s Point were legally merged into one and the official boundaries of the resulting BaltimoreCity (incorporated in 1797) were expanded to encompass 14.71 square miles by legislative fiat in 1817.  In that period the resident [...]

Lost No More: Recovering Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s “Forest Leaves”

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s first book of poems had been considered lost to history for well over one hundred years. U-Mass graduate student Johanna Ortner shares the tale of recovering this incredibly valuable text–reblogged from Common-Place.org My home is where eternal snow Round threat’ning craters sleep, Where streamlets murmur soft and low And playful cascades leap. [...]

A sneak preview of “Paul Henderson: Photographing Morgan (1947–1955)”

Underbelly presents this sneak preview ahead of the opening of the Maryland Historical Society’s popular traveling exhibition of the work of photojournalist Paul Henderson. Paul Henderson: Photographing Morgan (1947–1955) runs February 4 through March 27, 2016 at Morgan University’s James E. Lewis Museum of Art and is free and open to the public. It’s thanks to Paul [...]

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