Updated Feb. 21, 2024

Travel back in time in Dorchester County this February – or any time of year – to meet the pioneers, patriots, and freedom fighters who changed the course of history. The birthplace of Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman, and home of civil rights icon Gloria Richardson, Dorchester’s cultural tapestry has been inspired by generations of Black leaders, enslaved people, and ordinary citizens. We’ve featured some below. There are also some special happenings in honor of Black History Month:

Black History Month Events 2024

Harriet Tubman Museum - Bucktown Store Mural - Cambridge, MD

New Mural at Harriet Tubman Museum

Throughout February; Thursday-Friday 12-3pm; Saturday 12-14pm
See the Harriet Tubman Museum & Education Center’s newest mural, featuring a site of great significance in Tubman’s life. Created by artist Michael Rosato (the artist by the famous “Take My Hand” mural, also at the Tubman Museum), the mural captures views from the Bucktown General Store (Stop #18 on the Tubman Byway). This site is where Tubman had her first act of defiance as a young girl – and where she nearly lost her life. This small, volunteer-run museum is located in downtown Cambridge at 424 Race St.


Special Programming at Harriet Tubman State Park & Visitor Center

Every weekend in February
Special programming at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center in Church Creek, Maryland happens every weekend in February. On Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 3pm, there are traditional children’s games and crafts. Saturdays at 11am and Sundays at 1pm there will be story time with a Ranger. There’s also a Story Book Trail, “Climbing Lincoln’s Steps.” Additionally, the Tubman Visitor Center has a new Eastern Shore Explorers program. Pick up an activity booklet at the center with urban and rural expeditions and visit historical landmarks related to local African American history.


Exhibit: Celebrating Black Achievement

Feb. 2-24
DCA - Quilt by Casandra L. AllenThis community exhibition at the Dorchester Center for the Arts in Cambridge, Maryland celebrates the creative contributions, achievements, and rich legacies (past and present) made by African Americans. Professional and amateur artists have been invited to submit artwork for this juried selection.


Ben's Ten- MPT Documentary - Feb2024

Maryland Public Television: Ben’s Ten: Chattel Slavery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Maryland Public Television premiered a one-hour documentary Feb. 19 that sheds light on the lives of enslaved Marylanders, including a young Harriet Tubman. “Ben’s Ten” follows a Maryland team of archaeologists and historians as they discover remnants of a home believed to belong to Ben Ross, the father of Harriet Tubman. Read more about the documentary.
and watch it here.


Kin: Rooted In HopeAuthor Talk and Book Signing with Carol Boston Weatherford

Feb. 23, 11:30am-2pm
Carol Boston Weatherford will talk about her book, Kin: Rooted in Hope. Illustrated by her son, Jeffrey Boston Weatherford, this book features a poetic retelling of their family genealogy and legacy. This story resonates with so many and is recommended for anyone ages 10 and up. At the Dorchester County Historical Society in Cambridge, MD. $5 admission.


Talk: African Americans in the Civil War

Feb. 23, 2pm

Dr. Clara Small, historian

Delmarva historian Dr. Clara Small gives a presentation on African Americans in the Civil War, particularly highlighting those of Dorchester County, Maryland. Anyone who comes to the Weatherford presentation (see above) is welcome to stay for Dr. Small’s presentation free of charge. Dr. Small has co-authored numerous books on Delmarva and African American history. $5 admission.


Tubman Museum - Paint Your Own T-Shirt - Cambridge, MD

Paint Your Own T-Shirt at the Tubman Museum

Feb. 24, 3-6pm
Paint Your Own T-Shirt, “Two Pound Weight,” at the Harriet Tubman Museum – Paint a t-shirt with artist, illustrator Sydney Smith Jordan. Tubman was hit in the head with a two pound weight at age 13. What should have killed her, made her stronger. It changed her thinking and gave her visions of freedom. If we can think it, we can be it! Come out and paint your “Two Pound Weight” and unleash the power of thinking free. Includes beverages and light fare. $45 per person. Tickets.

 


Linda Harris and David Cole - Songs of Freedom - Harriet Tubman MuseumSongs of Freedom, Journeying the Underground Railroad

Feb. 24, 6-7:30pm
Honoring the code songs used on the clandestine journey along the Underground Railroad by Harriet Tubman and the freedom seekers in 1849. Performed by Linda Harris, vocalist and narrator and David B. Cole, guitar. Linda Harris walked in the footsteps of Tubman in 2020, traveling 158 miles from Dorchester County, Maryland to Philadelphia. Performance takes place at the Dorchester Center for the Arts, 321 High St., Cambridge, MD. More info.


Black History in Dorchester County

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

The Underground Railroad hero was born into slavery here in Dorchester County more than 200 years ago. She escaped, then returned more than a dozen times to lead friends and family to freedom – risking her life each time. Experience stories of hope and redemption along the scenic road trip known as the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, which includes sites related to Tubman and other freedom seekers in the 1800s. Don’t miss the free guide and the free audio app, which uses dramatic narrations and virtual reality and augmented reality features to bring the history to life. Learn more


Memorial to the Enslaved at Handsell Historic SiteHandsell Historic Site

Head to the historic Handsell property in Vienna, Maryland, which shares a three-pronged story through history that includes African Americans, Native Americans, and European settlers. Their research team has compiled information on 214 enslaved individuals associated with Handsell in Dorchester County and Anne Arundel County. Handsell’s Enslaved Community Database is a comprehensive list of enslaved persons who are connected with the Rider-Billings-Steele families of Dorchester and 19th century owners of Handsell plantation. They have been trying to “build a life” for the many forgotten enslaved people, who sometimes were initially remembered only by a name and age on a slave inventory. With much research, they have been able to trace the movements of some in later life and slowly watch a life story emerge. In 2021, they dedicated a memorial stone to the enslaved people of Handsell.


Gloria Richardson Dandridge_800x600Civil Rights Movement

Tie up your walking shoes to see where civil rights history was made in Cambridge’s Pine Street community, home of pioneering civil rights leader Gloria Richardson in the 1960s. (Richardson passed away in 2021.) Take the two-mile, self-guided Pine Street Walking Tour in person or read the brochure from your armchair.  Download the PDF. And don’t miss the free audio guide, with narrators sharing firsthand memories. Also, see the African American Heritage Mural in Cambridge, part of the Chesapeake Mural Trail.


 

Adaline Wheatley, Spocott Windmill

Spocott Windmill & Village

Learn about the Wheatleys, a couple who lived at what is now Spocott Windmill & Village starting in the mid-1800s. The husband Columbus was a Civil War veteran and master craftsman; his wife Adaline was a renowned cook and giver of sage advice. Learn more.

 

 


 

Stanley InstituteStanley Institute One-Room Schoolhouse

Stanley Institute is one of Maryland’s oldest schools organized and maintained by a Black community. Learn more about this restored 1865 one-room schoolhouse in Cambridge, Maryland, and watch the virtual 360 video tour.  Across the street from Stanley is Christ Church, a restored church that the local Black community built in 1875. It’s one of the oldest surviving African American churches from the post-Civil War period on Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore.


 

Bethel AME Church in Cambridge, MD | Visit DorchesterHistoric Black Churches

Dorchester County is home to several historic Black churches, including:

Malone’s Church, which features the graves of many of Harriet Tubman’s family members, including her nephew and in-laws, and several civil war veterans. Plans are currently in the works to restore the church.

Bethel AME Church, the oldest African Methodist Episcopal Church in Cambridge, which was at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement in Cambridge, serving as a meeting place for congregants to strategize, and plan their sit-ins and their walks through Cambridge.

Faith United Methodist Church, founded by the Rev. Sam Green, who also served as an Underground Railroad agent, helping Harriet Tubman and many others to freedom.

Explore these and other religious sites through a self-guided tour pamphlet and/or a free cell phone app. More info.

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email