Remembering Maryland Women’s Fight for the Vote

by Kacy Rohn, Graduate Assistant Intern

From February 7 to 13, 1906, thousands of activists from across the country gathered at the Lyric Theater in Baltimore to galvanize the movement for women’s suffrage. Leaders of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) arranged a busy program of speeches, musical performances, and prayer services that filled the theater. Despite this momentous gathering, our understanding of the Lyric’s historic significance lacks any reference to the women’s suffrage movement (as seen in our documentation of the site). This forgotten milestone is a prominent example of the hidden history of women’s suffrage that exists at many historic sites across Maryland.

Lyric Theater. 1906 Appearance

The Lyric Theater as shown in the 1906 NAWSA Convention booklet. Image: Miller NAWSA Suffrage Scrapbooks, 1897-1911 (Library of Congress)

NAWSA members assembled at the Lyric at a critical time. The founding women were aging out of active work and needed new recruits. The convention program reflects NAWSA’s deliberate attempts to attract a diverse body of new activists, pursuing working women one day, college women the next. Notably absent from the range of targeted invitees were African American women, who were also fighting for the vote but were largely excluded from the white women’s movement.

Lyric Theater. Emma Maddox Funck

Image: “Demand the Right to Vote: National Convention of the Woman’s Suffrage Association to Be Held in Baltimore,” The Baltimore Sun. January 7, 1906.

 

Elderly suffragists Clara Barton, Julia Ward Howe, and Susan B. Anthony gathered for their last convention together at the Lyric. Anthony, 86 years old and in failing health, delivered an address on College Night in which she recounted the “long galaxy of great women” who had come before her. She charged the college students to carry on the mission: “The fight must not cease; you must see that it does not stop.” These words were some of the last that she spoke in public before her death that March.

Lyric Theater. NAWSA Conference Pamphlet

Program pamphlet cover from the NAWSA convention. Image: Woman Suffrage in Maryland Collection (Enoch Pratt Free Library)

The Maryland women who organized the 1906 NAWSA convention claimed it as the first real success of the state’s suffrage movement and capitalized on this momentum by expanding their work across the state. They continued to campaign for the vote until the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

Harriet Elizabeth Brown: “The Quiet Heroine of 1937”

By Michael Gayhart Kent, Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture

Harriet Elizabeth Brown

Harriet Elizabeth Brown

1937 was an explosive year in history.  On May 6, 1937, the Hindenburg airship ignited over New Jersey and crashed to the ground in flames.  The June 3, 1937 wedding of Wallis Simpson to the former King of England also shook the world, dominating the news until the shock of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance over the Pacific on July 2, 1937.  The most earth-shaking event for the black community in Maryland came on November 11, 1937, when Harriet Elizabeth Brown, a Black teacher at Mt. Hope Elementary School, filed a lawsuit against the Calvert County Board of Education.

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An Uncertain Future for America’s Cultural Heritage

By Elizabeth Hughes, Director and State Historic Preservation Officer, Maryland Historical Trust and President, National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO)

As we celebrate Preservation Month and the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, federal funding for historic preservation hangs in the balance.  Since 1976, the Historic Preservation Fund has supported state and local efforts to identify, protect, and enhance historic places that matter to Marylanders. In addition to special competitive grants, the Maryland Historical Trust receives approximately 20 percent of its annual budget from this fund.  Yet the fund’s authorization, supported by a small percentage of offshore drilling revenue, was allowed to expire on September 30, 2015.

Elizabeth Hughes HPF testimony 0215

Maryland State Historic Preservation Officer and NCSHPO President Elizabeth Hughes gives testimony before the House Federal Lands Subcommittee in support of the Historic Preservation Fund in February 2015.

Thanks to the leadership of Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland has positioned itself as a strong champion for preservation.  On April 11, Governor Hogan wrote to Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT), who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, which is responsible for the fund’s reauthorization. The governor expressed his support, noting “Reauthorization and extension of the Fund until 2024 will support states and tribes as they carry out the work of the national historic preservation program and would provide certainty for states and communities with historic preservation projects.” Local governments, developers, and private citizens depend on this support to document historic places for the National Register of Historic Places, to take advantage of federal tax credits, and to support local planning, among other critical preservation efforts.

Congress is moving slowly to ensure that there is a future for the Historic Preservation Fund.  The National Historic Preservation Amendments Act of 2015 (H.R. 2817), a bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the Fund for 10 years, has been introduced by Historic Preservation Caucus Co-Chairs Mike Turner (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D – OR).  A subcommittee hearing on the bill was held in February and co-sponsors on the bill are actively being sought.

Evergreen

Evergreen in Allegany County was recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places, a program supported at the state level by the Historic Preservation Fund.

Despite this forward movement, Governor Hogan’s support for reauthorization could not have come at a more critical juncture. Only last month, the House Rules Subcommittee proposed exploring limits on appropriations for programs and agencies whose legal authorizations have expired. The loss of federal preservation funding would be catastrophic to state, tribal, and local programs all across the country.  We hope that with the support of the governor and others, we will still be able to celebrate 50 years of preservation success in 2016, and not mourn a step backward for our nation’s irreplaceable cultural heritage.

Mark your calendar for the 45th Annual Field Session in Maryland Archeology!

By Charlie Hall, State Terrestrial Archeologist

Every year we invite the public to help us investigate a significant archeological site in Maryland. Held in partnership with the Archeological Society of Maryland, this year’s Field Session will be the 45th such opportunity to work side-by-side with some of Maryland’s most prominent archeologists, who guide participants in the use of the most up-to-date archeological methods. In exchange, these volunteers provide the support we need to conduct these important investigations.

River Farm site

River Farm site. Credit: Stephanie Sperling

This year’s Field Session will take us to the River Farm site along the upper Patuxent River in Anne Arundel County. Located at Jug Bay, the River Farm site is at least partially within the flood plain of the river that was damaged during Superstorm Sandy. Jane Cox, Chief of Cultural Resources for Anne Arundel County and this Field Session’s Principal Investigator, has been investigating the site for evidence of storm damage and to devise the means to mitigate future damage. The results of her work indicate that Native Americans occupied this beautiful location for at least 8,000 years, throughout the Archaic and Woodland periods. Over 1,000 ceramic sherds and dozens of projectile points were recovered from a limited investigation involving 131 small shovel test pits and a few larger excavation units. Non-local lithic material may connect River Farm to the near-by Pig Point site, where evidence of ritual mortuary behavior with links to the Ohio River valley has been found.

River Farm excavation

Excavation at River Farm. Credit: Stephanie Sperling

During the upcoming Field Session, at least three areas of the site will be investigated, including:
• a Late Woodland midden that yielded a C-141 date of 1010 AD;
• an area with a Late Woodland concentration that yielded evidence for numerous intact features, including hearths; and
• an Early Woodland concentration with a transitional Late Archaic component.
This will allow veterans of recent Field Sessions to contrast the Late Woodland of the Monocacy River valley with that of the Coastal Plain.

The Field Session will run for 11 consecutive days beginning on Friday, May 27th and ending on Monday, June 6th, inclusive of weekends and the Memorial Day holiday. You are invited to participate for as little as a few hours to as much as the entire 11-days. Pre-registration is encouraged, but not required (from the home page, click on “Field Session”).

SAMSUNG DIGIMAX 420

River Farm artifacts. Credit: Stephanie Sperling

A full schedule of lectures and events will also be offered. Among them will be a lunchtime talk by Al Luckenbach on the latest Pig Point discoveries (Sunday, May 29th), and an afternoon guided tour of the Glendening Nature Preserve (Friday, June 3rd). The traditional end-of-session feast will be held on Saturday, June 4th, following the day’s digging. Camping is available on the site, and motel accommodations are available in nearby towns. Watch the Archeological Society of Maryland’s website for developing schedule and details, and we’ll see you in the field!

Memory Mapping in the Bottom and Hammond Town

By Jen Sparenberg, Hazard Mitigation Program Officer

Easton’s Bottom and Hammond Town neighborhoods served vibrant African American communities in the decades after the Civil War.  Located adjacent to “the Hill,” an early free African-American settlement, both neighborhoods have suffered a slow decline over decades. As Easton considers the redevelopment of nearby Easton Point, the Port Street Master Plan presents an opportunity to revitalize the Bottom and to record and interpret the history of the Bottom and Hammond Town.

Old Moton School

Old Moton, a Rosenwald School in Easton. Credit: Michelle Zachs

As a first step towards documenting the history of both communities, the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center and Port Street Matters/the NAACP-Talbot County sponsored a community outreach meeting to record existing and vanished important places in the communities. Residents, ex-residents, and community elders met at the American Legion Blake-Blackston Post #77 in Easton to participate.

Large aerial maps of the Bottom, Hammond Town, Easton Point, and the Hill were set up as different stations with markers, pens and notepads so that residents could move between stations and record the location of important places on the maps and share their memories of those places.  The mapping led to a lively discussion among residents as they shared their memories of growing up and living in the Bottom and Hammond Town.

Residents and former residents id imp places

Former and current residents record important places in the Bottom and Hammond Town.

What emerged from the memory mapping was a portrait of lively communities that were eroded over time by forces beyond the residents’ control.  There were ballfields, pastures, schools, markets that sold fresh produce and seafood, retail establishments, places to eat and drink, a doctor’s office, a funeral home, a filling station and houses of worship – all owned and run by African Americans.  Residents had few needs that could not be within the communities.  Today, only a handful of the places remain and fewer still are African-American owned.

With further outreach and consideration of the Bottom and Hammond Town communities, the Port Street Master Plan has the potential to help rejuvenate the neighborhoods and bring businesses back in a way that benefits current residents.  The project also offers an opportunity to conduct a historical investigation of the Bottom and Hammond Town: two communities that have been overlooked due to the prominence of the Hill, but which are no less important in telling the history of Easton.

Cumberland’s Youth Summit

By Kathy McKenney, Historic Planner/Preservation Coordinator, City of Cumberland

With a Certified Local Government grant from the Maryland Historical Trust, the Cumberland Historic Preservation Commission and staff have partnered with Braddock Middle School to develop a first-ever Youth Summit. During the 2015-2016 school year, this project is bringing together local youth, educators, and preservation partners to investigate and engage with historic places in our city. The summit will give participating students real-world experience with a day focused on hands-on preservation maintenance and intensive sessions on using architecture as artifact, archival research, and place-based interpretation. Summit participants will visit, discuss, and analyze designated historic sites such as churches, the C&O Canal, and the Footer Dye Works Building. The students will craft stories about these places for their peers and the community at large. Project partners include the City of Cumberland’s Historic Preservation Commission, Allegany College of Maryland, the National Park Service C&O Canal National Historical Park, and Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority.

Cumberland Youth Summit 1

Visit to Dan’s Rock

On October 16, 2015, eighth grade students traveled to Dan’s Rock to understand cultural landscapes and to begin learning more about their community, while discussing “sense of place” and what places were important to them within their community. They began to interpret the layers of human visitation to the site over the years and asked other visitors to the site about their experiences and what drew them there. The students developed a hashtag to begin using for social media posting: #SaveOurHistory #BraddockSummit2015.

On October 23rd, students, accompanied by a staff member from Cumberland’s Economic Development department, traveled to five Cumberland neighborhoods (Dingle, Decatur Heights, Johnson Heights, White Oaks, and Rolling Mill) to learn more about cultural and architectural resources. They visited sites both with and without formal designation, such the city’s working class neighborhoods ranging from mid-nineteenth century to mid- century modern. Students selected a neighborhood for further research and are now learning more about documenting resources. The students will craft stories about these places for their peers and the community at large.

Cumberland Youth Summit 2

Youth Summit Neighborhood Visits – Decatur Heights

On November 20th, members of the project team, as well as staff from the Allegany County Library System, met with the students in the classroom to introduce them to sources for continuing their neighborhood research. Their research will result in the preparation of a report that they will present to the Cumberland Mayor and City Council at a public meeting in the near future. In the spring of 2016, students will participate in activities including a service learning project in and around Canal Place, a hands-on preservation maintenance opportunity and an additional heritage tourism activity. We’re looking forward to the results of this great program!

For more information, please contact Kathy McKenney, Historic Planner/Preservation Coordinator, at 301-759-6431 or kathy.mckenney@cumberland.md.gov.

2016 Cultural Resources Hazard Mitigation Planning Grants Awarded

With funding from the National Park Service Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund, the Maryland Historical Trust has awarded seven grants throughout the state to help protect historic places and archeological sites from future storms. These grants will be supported by the Trust’s Cultural Resources Hazard Mitigation Planning Program, which was created to assist local governments to better plan and prepare for the effects of coastal storms and other hazards that impact historic places and properties. The grant projects are described below.

Anne Arundel

Early 20th century vernacular home common to Shady Side

Anne Arundel County Trust for Preservation, Inc., Phase I Hazard Mitigation Planning for Anne Arundel’s Cultural Resources: $32,000
Three areas in the county (Shady Side and Deale; Pasadena; and Maryland City, Laurel, and Jessup) face the highest risk to flooding and contain the most undocumented historic structures, as well as unsurveyed potential archeological resources. To remedy this, the Anne Arundel County Trust for Preservation will conduct a study to identify historic structures and archeological sites and evaluate the potential damages caused by flooding.

ASM

The River Farm site inundated by high tide

Archeological Society of Maryland, Inc., Sustainable Models for Sites Endangered by Natural Hazards: $32,000
The Archeological Society of Maryland will gather information about several archeological sites in Anne Arundel County, Calvert County and St. Mary’s County that are slowly being destroyed due to eroding shorelines and water intrusion from coastal storms and increased tidal flooding. In St. Mary’s County, at the possible location of the Native American village known as Secowocomoco, testing will inform future decisions about excavation and protection from ongoing erosion. Studies in the Battle Creek watershed (Calvert County) will help researchers understand the foodways and lifeways practiced by the Native Americans who lived there. At River Farm, a large Native American settlement along the Patuxent River, investigations will locate site boundaries, determine eligibility for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, and inform planning against future erosion and flooding. The Society will develop a series of case studies to provide guidance for public-private partnerships engaged in survey, assessment, and protection of archeological resources threatened by natural hazards and climate change.

Baltimore

Historic Fells Point, a waterfront neighborhood

City of Baltimore, Integrating Historic and Cultural Considerations into Baltimore’s All Hazards Plan: $30,390
The City of Baltimore contains more than 80,000 historic properties and many of its oldest neighborhoods, such as Fells Point and Jonestown, are located on or near waterways, making them vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise, storm surge and flooding. With this grant, the City will identify high-priority historic areas and buildings that are significantly impacted by flooding, evaluate the impacts of flooding, and incorporate the results of evaluation into their Disaster and Preparedness Project and Plan (DP3), which is the City’s climate adaptation and hazard mitigation plan. The City will also identify methods for protecting vulnerable historic structures that are in accordance with the DP3 and amenable to the City’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation.

Dorchester

Flooding on Elliotts Island Road (credit: K. Clendaniel)

Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area, Hazard Mitigation Planning Project for Dorchester County: $44,000
Beginning in the mid-seventeenth century, Dorchester County has a long history of occupation first by Native Americans and later by English settlement along its waterways. One of the greatest periods of historic significance for the county is 1825 to 1900, during which the agricultural economy shifted to towards the canning industry. There are many properties constructed during that period of significance that are at risk to flooding due to coastal storms, sea level rise, and tidal flooding, but have not been identified and studied to understand their contribution to history. Dorchester County will conduct a survey to identify areas with historic structures vulnerable to flooding and evaluate their vulnerability to flood hazards.

Port Deposit

Flooding from Hurricane Irene (credit: Town of Port Deposit)

Town of Port Deposit, Cultural Resources Inventory and Risk Assessment for Cecil Towns: $40,000
This project encompasses hazard mitigation planning efforts in two Cecil County historic towns: Port Deposit and Elkton. The Town of Port Deposit is located adjacent to the Susquehanna River, which makes the town’s historic district susceptible to flood damage by heavy rain events, coastal storms and ice jams. An updated historic and architectural investigation will be undertaken to re-evaluate and update the National Register of Historic Places nomination as the first step in planning to protect Port Deposit’s buildings from further flood damage. Situated along Big Elk Creek, the Town of Elkton’s Main Street and Historic District has a history of flooding that dates back to the nineteenth century. Elkton’s historic properties are vulnerable to flooding from coastal storms, large rain events and snow melt. To address this, a survey will identify historic structures vulnerable to flooding and assess the potential damages that could occur.

Smith Island

Crab shanty in Ewell

Smith Island United, Inc., Smith Island Cultural Resources Hazard Mitigation Planning Initiative: $9,000
Situated in the Chesapeake Bay and accessible only by water, Smith Island is comprised of three communities — Ewell, Rhodes Point and Tylerton — which have a history of experiencing coastal storms. The historic occupation of the island dates back to the seventeenth century, although the majority of buildings on the island date to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Under this grant, an evaluation of flood mitigation measures for representative historic house types in each of the three villages will be conducted. The results will be used to develop preservation-sensitive models for flood protection for historic houses of similar construction.

Talbot

W-shaped Victorian house in Tilghman

Talbot County, Documentation and Assessment of Historic Resources in Western Water-Oriented Villages: $60,000
Talbot County contains thirteen unincorporated water-oriented villages, many of which have historic structures dating back to the eighteenth century. The four villages of Tilghman, Neavitt, Newcomb, and Royal Oak have a large number of unrecorded historic structures at high risk of flooding due to tidal events and coastal storms like Hurricane Sandy. This project will identify key historic properties that convey the history and heritage of each village, conduct a study to determine those properties’ vulnerability to coastal storms, and estimate the potential damages that could occur.