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African-American History

This category contains 29 posts

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 [...]

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. [...]

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