Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center (part 1 of 2)

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Photo by Sophia V. Nelson/The Merging Lanes Project

Meet Mary Dennard-Turner, part of the Maryland Park Service staff at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center located in Church Creek (Dorchester County) Maryland.

An area native. For several years she has been an active member of the local heritage preservation society. She was retired when the Maryland Park Service approached her to work as a greeter at the visitor center. She said when she retired as a corrections officer she told herself she’d never wear another uniform again. Yet, there she was, complemented by that beautiful white, green and red Maryland Park Service seal; one of the first faces to greet a few groups and I when we entered the visitor center on Tuesday.

She shared she had just crossed over the 1 year mark as a seasonal employee and is enjoying herself.

More on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center to come.

Michael Rosato’s Cambridge (Maryland) African American Heritage Mural

The African American Heritage Mural is located at the corner of Maryland Avenue and Route 50 in Cambridge, Maryland. 

Oooo I didn’t plan to capture this beauty today. I saw photos of it about a year ago, circulating online after its unveiling. But when it appeared to the right of me as I was driving by, I just had to pull over || Here is a description found on muralist, Michael Rosato’s website: “A mural highlighting Cambridge, Maryland’s rich African-American history, culture and heritage, particularly in the community around Pine Street, which is one of the oldest African-American communities in the country that dates back to the mid-1800s. Acrylic on board || I plan to look up the history of Pine Street. …Hey! There’s my girl Gloria Richardson !!in the yellow dress. Read about her while taking an African American history class at Georgia State University. It amazed me how Richardson was instrumental in a civil rights movement that spilled over into small town Maryland during the 1960s. I included Image 4, to give you a bit of context. Many are familiar with that picture of Richardson ~ “The Historian”

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Soon come: African American Cultural Center in Virginia Beach

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Image 1: Afro American Cultural Center at Yale University, est 1969 //Image 2: conceptual plan of the African American Cultural Center in Virginia Beach.

Yale’s Afro American Cultural Center is recognized as the first of its kind at an Ivy League school and the largest in the Northeast. With years of providing a variety of cultural, spiritual, mentoring, and tutoring services, the current Afro American Cultural Center at Yale dean, Dean Risë Nelson is championing the development of the African American Cultural in Virginia Beach.

In a keynote speech given to those working to bring Virginia Beach’s cultural center to fruition, Dean Nelson shared the following: “We are always a part of the conversation on campus and in New Haven; we do not let ourselves become invisible; our calendar is chock-full of events to bring people in continually… we believe that the history and traditions of the African diaspora should be celebrated by all Americans and members of society; the welcome mat is always out.”

[source: The Virginian-Pilot]

African-American Civil War Museum: First Time Visitor, Geronimo Knows

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By Geronimo Knows

Knowing history is key to shaping the future. As the adage goes, how do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been? My visit to the African-American Civil War Museum just off Vermont Avenue, just off DC’s U Street Corridor, was a first for me. The good folk at The Merging Lanes Project asked me to tag along as part of a case study, focused on people learning about African-American history outside of academia. I’m honored whenever anyone wants to use my opinion in the public sphere so agreeing to attend was easy.


Individual knowledge of African-American history varies from person-to-person within the black community. It falls somewhere between limited solely to established academic curriculum and reading outside the lines of established discourse. The buck stops at school for many of us while the rest will follow our intuition, doing additional research on what our true history is. The museum centers on the American Civil War but also chronicles black history leading up to the war and afterward. The first standout point was learning of the seven black men who were part of the 41st and 42nd United States Congress’ during the Reconstruction period and the first black people to hold those positions. The second was finding out what is West Africa today was once known as “Negroland” – Mind blown. This newfound information moved me the same way I was upon walking into the defunct Hue-Man Books in Harlem 13 years ago and seeing a poster of a book entitled Germany’s Black Holocaust: 1890-1945. I was grateful for the exposure but also disappointed at becoming privy to this information as an adult.

Whether 125th Street in 2005 or Vermont Avenue NW in 2018, each moment of enlightenment contributes to knowing self and how to move in a room full of vultures. I look at the daily social media conversations and arguments surrounding social injustices. The intentions, be they good or bad, of most people engaging in these discussions are clear. I’m concerned, however, that only a few of us contributing to these discussions know our history well enough to be so vocal. I mean, when’s the last time you fact-checked a meme?

-Geronimo Knows

(Atlanta) “Maynard” Film Screening

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(Atlanta) Things to do, 4/14 & 4/22 – “Maynard” Film Screening

Maynard Jackson III, the only son of Maynard Jackson Jr (first Black mayor of Atlanta) has spent the past two years working to produce a film about his father. Maynard III and wife Wendy Eley Jackson are cofounders of Auburn Avenue Films. The two secured the support of director Sam Pollard, who has edited and directed a number of Spike Lee’s documentaries. Pollard had one requirement, he needed and was given full creative control.

Audio recordings of Maynard Jackson which were stored at Emory University, were used to inform the film. The film also incorporates Maynard Jackson Jr ephemera, interviews with Andrew Young, Kasim Reed and all 5 of Maynard Jrs children.

Link to Atlanta Magazine Article

Bill H.R. 4856 Will Bring a Statue of Shirley Chisholm to the U.S. Capitol

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Photo Afro.com

On Jan 19 2018 Congressional Bill H.R. 4856 was introduced by Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY)

“The bill requires the Joint Committee on the Library to enter into an agreement to obtain a statue of Shirley Chisholm.” Currently there are no statues of past African-American members of Congress contained in the National Statuary Hall Collection. There is a statue of Rosa Parks and a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune is on its way

Today, I will sit down to interview a young lady, Florida native and the first woman to be ranked as no. 1 on HBCU Digest’s Top 30 under 30 list, about her role in seeing that H.R. 4856 was introduced.

Exhibit “Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-Ins” – National Museum of American History

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“The Cutting Edge of Public History: New Directions in Interpretation” Conference got its start at the National Museum of American History.

Pictured is an exhibit, commemorating the Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-Ins. In photograph 2, you may notice that the mirror which also doubles as a media player, captures the reflection of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Out of 120,000 square feet in the American History Museum, the lunch counter and accompanying mirror managed to find itself in a space that incorporates neighboring building National Museum of African American History and Culture in its narrative.

Do you think this was strategic exhibit planning or coincidence?