Visit Dorchester County to explore African-American history, culture and heritage on Maryland’s Eastern Shore
Travel back in time in Dorchester County Maryland this February to meet the pioneers, patriots and freedom fighters who changed the course of history. Renowned as 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 African-American leaders, enslaved people and citizens from every walk of life.
Explore Dorchester’s African-American heritage at various historic sites, attractions, and special events. Experience stories of hope and redemption along our Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway driving tour, or tie up your walking shoes to see where civil rights history was made.
Come for the day – or for the weekend – and prepare to be inspired! Stop by the Dorchester Visitor Center overlooking the Choptank River to start your journey. Browse VisitDorchester.org for more on Dorchester and African-American history.
Black History Month Highlights
Museums, Attractions & Historic Sites
Visit one of Dorchester’s signature cultural attractions to discover our many black history stories. Here are a few:
- Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park & Visitor Center, offers a way to discover Harriet Tubman’s early years in the region and her role in the Underground Railroad. Gain insight into Tubman’s legacy as a leader, liberator, and humanitarian. Enjoy family-friendly programming every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in February. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.
- Bucktown General Store, where Harriet Tubman experienced a life-changing event
- Stanley Institute, historic one-room schoolhouse for African American children
- Pine Street neighborhood, site of civil rights unrest in Cambridge, Maryland. Download the Pine Street Walking Tour
- Heritage Museums and Gardens of Dorchester, offers an overall look at the history of the county
- Harriet Tubman Museum & Educational Center, founded 30+ years ago by dedicated volunteers to honor Tubman; home of the Harriet Tubman Mural
- The African American Heritage Mural highlights the area’s local African-American history, culture, and heritage, including Harriet Tubman and civil rights pioneer Gloria Richardson
- The historic Handsell property shares a three-pronged story through history that includes African Americans, Native Americans, and European settlers
Driving, Walking & Guided Tours
Explore a self-guided driving or walking tour this month. Download the map or audio guide for the driving tour known as the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway or lace up your shoes for the 2-mile, civil rights-focused Pine Street Walking Tour. Stop by the Dorchester Visitor Center for information and maps. You can also join a guided tour about Harriet Tubman.
Experience black history, art, and culture throughout February in Dorchester County at events including talks, performances, guided tours, and more. See below:
Black History Month Special Events
Dorchester’s Countywide Black History Celebration
Friday, Jan. 31, 6-8pm
The celebration will focus on “Honoring the Past – Celebrating the Future,” and will include speakers, performance art, skits and audience participation opportunities.
Saturday, Feb. 1 from 9am to 2pm
Black History Month Health and Wellness Event
Speakers provide education on several areas topics to address needs in the community. Sessions include mental health, physical health, housing, insurance, finances, legal, starting and maintaining your business, nutrition and exercise. Local vendors and community agencies will be on hand. Find out more.
11th Annual Black History Celebration
Saturday, Feb. 1 from 12 to 3pm
The theme is “The Legacy & Heritage of African-American History Past, Present, & Future.” This event is free and open to the public with a concentration on economic development on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Takes place in Cambridge, MD. Find out more.
Mancala! Mancala! Mancala! At the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center
Saturdays, Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 at 11am
Join rangers and learn how to play the board game Mancala! It takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master. Bring a smile and creativity and create your own game board. Free. Find out more.
Story Time with Mama Mary. At the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center
Sundays, Feb. 2, 9, 16 and 23 at 11am
Explore the concept of self-liberation through engaging storytelling and self-reflection with Ranger “Mama Mary” Dennard. Enjoy a moment of meditation and recognition of privileges taken for granted. After being a part of Ranger Dennard’s presentation, we hope you will have an awareness of how far society has come and how far we still have to go. Free. Find out more.
Introduction to the Harriet Tubman Visitor Center
Fridays, Feb. 7, 14, 21 and 28 at 10am, 12pm, and 4pm
Enjoy a ranger-led introduction and learn about the hidden symbolism behind the Park and Visitor Center. Free. Find out more.
The Preponderance of Poverty
Fridays, Feb. 7, 14, 21 and 28 at 2pm
Poverty has been a strain on the lives of most humans throughout history. In this program. Join Ranger Nwakudo to better understand what causes this burden and what can be done about it. At the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center. Free. Find out more.
3rd Annual Youth Expo
Saturday, Feb. 8, from 9am to 2pm
This is a free event for youth and families with interactive activities for youth ranging from financial literacy to career options. There are performers, community agencies, youth programs, and vendors. There are break-out sessions for parents and youth. Food and giveaways for all! In Cambridge, Maryland. Find out more.
Blacks of the Chesapeake Presentation
Sunday, Feb. 9 at 3pm
Vincent Leggett of the Blacks of the Chesapeake Foundation will speak on the legacy of African Americans on the waters of the Chesapeake at the Nanticoke Historic Preservation Alliance’s 2020 Annual Meeting at 3 p.m. on Feb. 9 in Cambridge. Free and open to the public. Find out more.
Raptors & Reptiles of Dorchester County. At the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center
Saturdays, Feb. 15 and 29 at 2pm
Since Harriet Tubman’s time in Dorchester County, the landscape has remained relatively unchanged. Join Ranger Maszkiewicz and Maryland Park Service’s Scales & Tales for a lesson on the natural landscape and native wildlife of Tubman’s time. Find out more.
The Life of Frederick Douglass
Saturday, Feb. 22 at 3pm
Storyteller Walter Jones brings the early life of Frederick Douglass to life in an engaging presentation for all ages. A wonderful way to introduce Fredrick Douglas and his life to your whole family. Cost – $8 per person, $20 maximum per family. At the Dorchester Center for the Arts in Cambridge, MD. Find out more.
3rd Annual Black Excellence Gala
Saturday, Feb. 22 at 8pm
Harvesting Hope Youth & Family Wellness presents “When the Stars Align,” a black-tie event on Saturday, Feb. 22, from 8pm to 1am in Cambridge, Maryland.
Tickets cost $50 per person. Find out more.