First Sunday Arts Festivals Season Finale A Great Place To Start Your Holiday Shopping

As the holiday season approaches the popular First Sunday Arts Festival hosts its season finale on Sunday, November 3, 2019 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Annapolis. This event is gearing up to be the biggest event yet with over 130 artisans filling the historic streets and parks in the Annapolis Arts District with some of the region’s best artists, crafters, musicians, and food.

“The festival continues to grow and every month new artisans join the festival. We are so lucky the community supports so many great local artisans,” said Erik Evans, The Festival’s Executive Director.

The festival provides the community with the opportunity to buy local and to have fun while shopping. Here you can meet the people that make the items you select and truly get to appreciate the craftsmanship. Shop from handcrafted jewelry, wheel-thrown pottery, hand-knitted hats and scarves, alpaca clothing, photography, paintings, candles, forged metal arts, fused glass, and home décor. The festival has also teamed up with the Annapolis Community Foundation to give away 500 trees in the Whitmore Park section of the festival.

Performers will be showcase live music at four free performance stages including, Weisman Park near the Visit Annapolis Visitors Center which is a good spot to relax in the shade, the main stage next to Stan and Joe’s Saloon, on the second block of West Street under the trees, and on Calvert Street in Whitmore Park hosted by Priddy Music Academy. Be sure to check out the music of Alyssa Shouse whose YouTube Channel following has over 270,000 subscribers while you enjoy the festival.

Admission to the festival is free. Annapolis Parking is free all day at the Calvert Street Garage at 19 St Johns Street and free parking until 4 pm or $2 all day at the John Whitmore Garage at 25 Clay Street. For more information about the festival, visit:

Morgan State Commemorates 400 Years Of African Presence In America

August 2019 marked 400 years since the first slave ship harboring enslaved Africans arrived in the English colony of Virginia. The slave ship was called The White Lion.

Morgan State University will be honoring that legacy with a show, “Since We’ve Been Here: Commemorating 400 years of African Presence in America.” This event is a multimedia production that will celebrate this historic period through dance, spoken word, music, and singing. This event will be held in The Carl J. Murphy Center Fine Arts Center on November 8, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.

Performers include Tracie Jiggetts; Keith Snipes; Baruti Kopano; the Singing Sensations Youth Choir; Slangston Hughes, and the VTDancers. Renown Baltimore actress, dancer, and storyteller Maria Broom will host the event.

“I believe the souls of those Africans who were brutally brought here are comforted and hopefully healed by each prayer, program, and commemoration offered in their honor,” said Broom.

Shirley Basfield Dunlap is the show director and coordinator of Theatre Arts at Morgan. “As an HBCU we should be a leading institution to recognize the African in America and because of the 400 Years of African-American History Commission Act passed by Congress in 2018, it is important for America to witness this historic moment.”

The 400 Years of African-American Commission is a 15-member body established by the federal government to coordinate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the English colonies.

Morgan student performer Samara Flowers said she is excited about the event because of the opportunity for young people to be exposed to history. “This event is meaningful to me because it teaches me the depth of my background and the history of my ancestors as well as allowing me to be a part of it,” said Flowers. I am performing an artistic piece as I present the black codes which were the laws applied to blacks but not whites. I am preparing for this event by rehearsing a musical piece while still familiarizing myself with the codes.”

“I think that it is immensely important that people are able to say they went to this. They should bring their children. So many of our children and students do not even know their history,” said Dunlap. “The next 100 years we won’t be here. I want people to leave with a sense of pride and to continue the legacy of their ancestors.”

The show producers said given the climate in the county right now where racial and social tensions are the highest in years, reminding people of the harms of slavery though these performances is especially important.

“This should have been done years before. The commemoration is an opportunity to look at where we are and where we want to be,” said Keith Snipes, actor and show coordinator. “I hope that folks will think about it in those terms and of course show up on November 8. I hope that people can start to think of the things that they can do to force this country to live up to its promise.”

General admission tickets to the show are $10. Students can enjoy the show for free. For more information about this event visit: or call 443-885-4440.

One-On-One With Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, Part II

A major “race” was underway concerning Pimlico Race Course. However, this wasn’t a race at Pimlico Racetrack. This was a race to keep one of America’s most prized races— The Preakness Stakes from being moved from Pimlico to Laurel Park. The “stakes” were high. Pimlico stood to lose a historic race, which brings millions of dollars in revenue to the city along with international exposure.

The Stronach Group (TSG) officials were hopeful lawmakers would back a proposal to invest millions in upgrades at Laurel Park, a thoroughbred track located in Laurel, MD and make it the new home of The Preakness. Led by former Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh, city leaders then filed a lawsuit to keep the Preakness at Pimlico. Keeping the prized race in Baltimore seemed to be a “longshot.” But Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young was willing to “bet” that if the city and TSG could come together, the city would “win” the race to keep The Preakness.

He was right. In October, a deal was struck between the sides to keep the second leg of the Triple Crown in Baltimore. Mayor Young is proud of the “victory,” which came just months after taking over the city’s top political office.

“That was a cool deal,” said Mayor Young. “I set in motion for everyone to come back together at the table and work together as a team. The lawsuit was the impediment to us sitting down and talking. We had to end the lawsuit to move forward. The deal will be one that everyone will be happy with.”

For Mayor Young, keeping The Preakness in Baltimore came with a sense of urgency. But he admits that other issues facing the city— including lowering the violent crime rate and cleaning up dilapidated neighborhoods, come with the same immediacy.

“My overall vision is to reduce crime and clean up the city,” said Mayor Young. “There are areas that are filthy, people want potholes filled, and there are a host of other things on the books that people want done. It’s a sense of urgency. If people see things being done, they don’t complain. I want to do all I can to move this city forward.

“I am also looking at helping the workers who pick up trash, repair our streets, and collect the water bills. They take a lot of abuse. I tell them ‘it’s not directed at you, but the system.’ I once thought I could change the world. But I stopped promising all of that stuff. I promised good government and access to the citizens of this city, and that’s what I intend to give them.”

Mayor Young shared some of his strategies.

“Redeveloping the community, rebuilding communities, and robust job training facilities are key to reducing crime in Baltimore,” said Mayor Young. “I believe that with everything in me. If I had a magic wand, I would fix this system in no time. We all have to work together as a team to move the city forward. But even in the midst of the violence in our city, I believe Baltimore is in the midst of a Renaissance.

“We have new development taking place all across the city including Johnson Square, and many schools are being re-developed through the 21st Century School Buildings Program.

“We are seeing development we have not seen in decades. There is so much going on in the city. Baltimore City is on the move. Those individuals who are fleeing the city will be sorry they left. If you own property in Baltimore City, you should keep and maintain it. It will be a place where people want to live.

“I hope people stop fleeing the city.

Issues are everyone. If everyone rolls out, who will our babies look up to? We need fathers to be fathers, and mothers to say we need to work together for the kids. Kids need to have access to both of their parents, and parents need to attend Parent Teacher Organization meetings and see how their kids are doing.”

The Baltimore native further delved into the need to broker more relationships between job training programs and employers.

“We have to redirect how we give money to job training facilities responsible for connecting people with jobs,” he said. “I am trying to foster relationships between facilities that offer job training and the companies that offer jobs. This relationship will allow facilities to offer a curriculum that prepares and gives people the skill set they will need to prepare them for jobs within these companies.

“The job training facilities would then say, ‘give us the people and we will train them.’ The companies would hire them because then folks will have the skill-set. I am convinced that would help reduce crime overnight. People wouldn’t be out on the streets because after work they would go home after leaving their jobs, eat, rest and prepare for the next workday.”

Mayor Young also discussed the biggest difference between his last position— President of the Baltimore City Council and his newest position.

“I get to see what the budget really is,” said Mayor Young. “I also get to talk to department heads to see what the needs are. I also have the burden of the entire city. If anything goes wrong, it’s the mayor’s fault. That’s the biggest difference.

“I also have to spend not based on my wants, but what the people want. However, at the same time, I can’t be overzealous. I try to get a win-win in all that I do.”

President Trump Proudly Presents His Policies on Criminal Justice Reform

When President Trump delivered the keynote address on criminal justice at Benedict College last week in South Carolina, he did an excellent presentation to the audience at that Historically Black College and University (HBCU). President Trump displayed a substantive and compassionate style of leadership that contracted a common misconception about his leadership style.

An extraordinary amount of energy goes towards painting a picture of President Trump as a leader under siege, willing to speak only to steadfast supporters. In reality, Donald Trump has always been able to go before any audience to deliver his message— and unlike some career politicians, his message is always the same no matter where he speaks.

As President, that message naturally begins with his record of policy successes and promises kept. It’s a record he’s justifiably proud of, and that pride is evident whether he’s before a packed stadium of supporters or at a historically black college for a forum that also featured six of his would-be Democrat opponents.

When it comes to criminal justice reform, President Trump’s record is misunderstood as often as his style of public interaction. That’s why when the President delivered remarks detailing “The Conservative Case for Criminal Justice Reform” at Benedict College, he profiled the landmark FIRST STEP Act.

The foremost purpose of the criminal justice system is to protect citizens by punishing and rehabilitating criminals.

To that end, the federal government significantly enhanced criminal penalties throughout the 1980s and 1990s, increasing the length of minimum sentences for a variety of crimes and making the conditions of confinement harsher.

Some aspects of that “get tough” strategy were effective, and crime rates began to plummet from the all-time highs reached in the early 1990s because the worst offenders were receiving prison sentences rather than slaps on the wrist. But some lawmakers took the strategy too far. It culminated in the 1994 omnibus crime bill— written by Joe Biden— that, among other things, created federal “three strikes” laws and restricted prisoners’ ability to get an education behind bars. A growing number of non-violent felons began to see longer sentences, too, especially for drug-related crimes. Even after being released, former inmates found it extraordinarily difficult to get jobs afterwards.

Worst of all, the burden of these policies fell disproportionately on the black community, with a huge percentage of young black men becoming tied up in the criminal justice system.

President Trump determined that these inequities should be corrected without sacrificing the progress we’ve made in combating violent crime. He was right, and he naturally wants all Americans to know it.

Last December, the President signed the FIRST STEP Act, which addressed many of the most glaring issues that made criminal justice unfair for African Americans. The law makes it easier for inmates to earn early-release credits for good behavior, for instance, giving prisoners, especially low-level drug offenders, greater opportunities to rebuild their lives as productive members of society.

It also provides the job-training and skills-building they need to succeed when they get out, reducing the likelihood that they’ll return to a life of crime.

In addition, the reforms also included new, fairer sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine possession, bringing the penalties in line with those for powder cocaine. Significantly, this change was applied retroactively, benefiting thousands of unfairly-sentenced prisoners.

President Trump takes great pride in those accomplishments, which explains why he agreed to participate in a forum that any conventional politician would have avoided. With no real competition for the Republican nomination in 2020, the President could have stayed on the sidelines and allowed the Democrat candidates to attack each other. Instead, he chose to present the conservative perspective on criminal justice reform to an audience that would otherwise hear only liberal viewpoints, even though his participation was characteristically met with unjustified attacks by his would-be challengers.

The FIRST STEP Act upholds one end of the criminal justice bargain to the black community: 90 percent of the prisoners who have been released thus far thanks to the new law are African Americans.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has been upholding the other end of that bargain by empowering law enforcement to more effectively combat violent crime, which also disproportionately affects the black community. The rate of both violent crime and property crime in the United States has fallen dramatically under this President.

President Trump looks forward to building on these successes. He has outlined a plan to help provide non-violent offenders with “second chance hiring” by reducing restrictions on federal hiring and incentivizing companies to hire employees with criminal backgrounds.

That’s the message that he took to Benedict College and to Black America. The Democrats went to that same forum with future proposals and plans, while President Trump went with “promises kept” in the form of concrete results improving the lives of all Americans and their families and communities, and in particular for African Americans and their families and communities.

To the inevitable dismay of the Democrat candidates who spoke on the same topic after him, this President has a record that he’ll gladly defend anywhere, any time, and in front of any audience.

Katrina Pierson is a senior adviser for Donald J. Trump for President Inc.

Rambling Rose: Fall Happenings

ASALH (Association for the Study of African American Life and History)

ASALH, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History is an organization committed to creating and disseminating knowledge by providing events and organizational activities to enhance the knowledge of all citizens concerning the rich life, history and culture of African Americans.

The Writes and Book Festival will provide exposure to a diverse group of writers and their literary works from the communities of Baltimore for the public’s viewing and purchasing pleasure. Vendors and refreshments will also be available to the public free of charge.

ASALH Julian Branch writers and Book Festival will take place on Saturday, November 2, 2019 from 1-4 p.m. at the Windsor Mill Middle School, 8300 Windsor Mill Road, Windsor Mill, Maryland. The types of books available at this festival are historical, children’s book;, religious; sports; biographical; food; fiction; non-fiction; health; African American life and culture, including yours truly’s books. Yes! I will be there with my books looking forward to meeting you and signing your book. For more information, contact Mary Brown at 443-864-4699 or Charles Minor at 443-743-8041.

The Everyman Theatre located at 315 W. Fayette Street in Baltimore presents August Wilson’s last play “Radio Golf” at now thru Nov. 17, 2019

The Everyman Theatre located at 315 W. Fayette Street in Baltimore presents August Wilson’s last play “Radio Golf” at now thru Nov. 17, 2019

August Wilson’s Radio Golf on stage at Everyman Theatre

August Wilson’s Radio Golf stage play directed by Carl Cofield will be at Everyman Theatre, 315 W. Fayette Street in Baltimore thru Sunday, November 17, 2019. Radio Golf tells the story of Harmond Wilks, a successful real estate developer running to be the first black mayor of Pittsburgh in 1997. Harmond sets up his campaign office in the heart of his childhood neighborhood-the Hill District, which could be a mirror image of our own Lexington Market area.

Learn about this amazing work and how much it lifts up and examines issues that are so relevant and concerning to Baltimore City today. For more information, call Jenny at 443-614-7055 ext.7132.

DJ Mel Entertainemnt and WMEL Radio 2019 WMEL Radio Honors

DJ Mel Entertainment & WMEL Radio will host an event on Sunday, November 10, 2019 at the American Legion Post #285 located at 2324 McElderry Street, honoring the work of singing groups and artists such as: The Whatnauts; First Class; The Softones; Empress of R&B Natasha C. Coward; Damon Harris; the Jewels; Billy Stewart; Bobby Starr; Panama; The Choice 4; the Crosswind; Karenlinette; and the Hardway Connection. Also DJ Mel is honoring yours truly, Rosa Pryor; Keith “Showtime” Busey; Jowan Larue; Nick Johnson; Viola Griffin; Janora “Lady J” Winkler; Kenneth “DJ Kay” Anderson; Keith Rogers; Millie Battle; Prime Time Gary Ellerbe; Kevin “Slow Jammin”; and James “Big Jim” Staton. My lands of Mercy! Folks this is an event you don’t want to miss.

Rasheed & Co. will host the 3rd Annual Royal Theatre Reunion All Black Extravaganza on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at the Patapsco Arena located at 3301 Annapolis Road in Baltimore from 7 p.m. until 1 a.m. featuring Ray Goodman & Brown, Enchantment, Black Ivory and Blue Philly Magic. For more information, call Tee Shirt Brian at 410-790-9333 or Ms. Maybelle at 433-226-8895.

Rasheed & Co. will host the 3rd Annual Royal Theatre Reunion All Black Extravaganza on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at the Patapsco Arena located at 3301 Annapolis Road in Baltimore from 7 p.m. until 1 a.m. featuring Ray Goodman & Brown, Enchantment, Black Ivory and Blue Philly Magic. For more information, call Tee Shirt Brian at 410-790-9333 or Ms. Maybelle at 433-226-8895.

Baltimore Museum of Art presents Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art

This month, the Baltimore Museum of Art presents more than 70 paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media works by black artists from the 1940’s to the present offering a sweeping new perspective on the evolution of abstraction.

Just recently, matriarchs of Baltimore’s art community, Joyce J. Scott and Oletha DeVane were there with a lively conversation with renowned art historians Dr. Leslie King Hammond and Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims.

This work of art is presented by The Helis Foundation and organized by the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. For those of you who love this type of art will truly love this exhibit.

The BMA is located at 10 Art Museum Drive in Baltimore. A few weeks ago, my husband, Shorty and I were invited to take a tour of this amazing museum and not knowing a darn thing about art, I was truly fascinated with the works of art on display. I can only imagine that the people out there who know the art world how much you would enjoy the tour of this exciting building.

DJ Mel Entertainment & WMEL Radio will host the 2019 WMEL Radio Honors, honoring the legends of Baltimore and Washington DC on Sunday, December 10, 2019 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the American Legion Post #285 located at 2324 McEldery Street in Baltimore. For more information, call 410-493-3512

DJ Mel Entertainment & WMEL Radio will host the 2019 WMEL Radio Honors, honoring the legends of Baltimore and Washington DC on Sunday, December 10, 2019 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the American Legion Post #285 located at 2324 McEldery Street in Baltimore. For more information, call 410-493-3512

Oh my goodness, I am out of space, just when I was getting started. I got to go now, but remember if you need me, call me at 410-833-9474 or email me at UNTIL THE NEXT TIME, I’M MUSICALLY YOURS.

Ravens Looking For Surge From Wide Receiver Miles Boykin In Second Half Of Season

There was a lot of optimism surrounding rookie wide receiver Miles Boykin when the Baltimore Ravens broke training camp back in August. It seemed as though the 2019 third-round pick was making a play every day. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Boykin possessed a unique blend of size and speed.

The expectation was that Boykin would be a dynamic playmaker for quarterback Lamar Jackson.

However entering this week, Boykin only has nine receptions for 131 yards and two touchdowns through seven games. Assistant head coach/passing game coordinator/WR coach David Culley offered an explanation about the lack of production from Boykin.

“I’ve always felt this way, as a wide receiver, it’s probably the toughest position because of the run game and the pass game, when it comes to learning everything that you need to know,” Culley explained. “I think the volume got him a little bit, which affected him thinking about things instead of just reacting, and I think it was more so of him just not being as comfortable as he was early when he was just playing and reacting and not thinking about things. But as the offense got more and more [complex], he started thinking about things, and I think that had a lot to do with that.”

Fellow rookie wideout Marquis Brown and Boykin scored touchdowns in the season opener against the Miami Dolphins. Brown, who was selected on the first round, had 147 yards and two touchdowns in that game.

Brown was stuck on the Physically Unable to Perform list for most of training camp but that didn’t stop him from getting off to a fast start.

Meanwhile, Boykin failed to catch a pass in two games before the Ravens had the bye last week. On the positive side, Boykin’s big-play ability resurfaced when he posted a 50-yard reception in a 30-16 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Boykin’s position coach feels that is something to build on.

“I think right now at this point, I think he’s in a good place,” Culley said. “The play he made Sunday was one of those instances where I think early in the year… the thing he did on that play— Lamar [Jackson] got outside the pocket, he started running and immediately Miles [Boykin] took off. Early in the year in the first couple of ball games, I don’t know if that would have happened. And so, that’s just the natural progression for him of now understanding to just play and just react, and I think he’s doing that now.”

At 5 and 2, the Ravens are sitting pretty at the top of the AFC North division, especially since the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns struggled through the first half of the season.

Sunday night’s prime time game against the New England Patriots in Baltimore will be a huge test for the Ravens. It’s the start of a rugged six-game stretch in which the team will face tough opponents such as the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills. The Ravens will without a doubt need Boykin to elevate his game and become a bigger part of their passing attack.

Retired Educator And Author Releases New Cookbook

Dr. Hattie N. Washington has numerous successes in her professional career— teacher, administrator, professor, author, consultant and keynote speaker. She now adds cookbook author to her list of accomplishments.

Dr. Washington launches her new book project, “Aunt Hattie’s Cookbook Southern Comfort Food Favorites” at the upcoming workshop at the Black Writers Guild meeting at the Enoch Pratt Free Library located at 4330 Edmonson Avenue in Baltimore on Saturday, November 2, 2019 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The meeting is open to the public with a donation is $5 for non-members.

Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding

The workshop, “Cooking with Books: How to Write and Publish a Cookbook,” will provide information to attendees about how to select and kitchen test recipes; secure a contract with a foodographer; elements of book design including how to format (text, food photos, recipes); and how to use various marketing strategies to publicize and sell your cookbook.

Participants will be treated to Aunt Hattie’s signature southern bread pudding with rum sauce.

Dr. Washington’s cookbook is a companion book to her award-winningmemoir “Driven To Succeed: An Inspirational Memoir of Lessons Learned Through Faith, Family and Favor,” where she mentioned many of the down-home dishes from her early childhood in the Meherrin, Virginia.

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

This keepsake cookbook shares how to cook some of Dr. Washington’s favorite mouth-watering recipes from her own personal collection, tried and perfected over the decades as a requested “must” at family reunions, Thanksgiving and other dinners, social gatherings, faculty meetings, etc. It also includes special and selected recipes from other family members, friends and from her time living abroad in Greece and Scotland, which she refers to as “beyond.”

Aunt Hatties’s cookbook will be available for purchase at the meeting and on her website:, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other major booksellers.

Veterans Day Weekend Celebrations In Downtown Annapolis

— Downtown Annapolis will fill the Veterans Day weekend with events that celebrate and honor our veterans. The events start on Sunday, November 10, 2019 from noon to 5 p.m. with a Veterans Celebration block party on Market Space in downtown Annapolis. This event is open to everyone who appreciates our veterans and would like to spend a fun uplifting afternoon together with them and the community.

The event will feature live music all day including our hometown Annapolis musician Jeremy Ragsdale who just recently returned to the United States after winning X Factor Romania 2017. His performances on YouTube have attracted millions of views. He will kick off the event at noon. Upon his return to Annapolis two months ago Jeremy Ragsdale dived right back into being a voice coach by opening his new voice studio. This will be Jeremy Ragsdale’s first public concert since returning home to Annapolis.

The music then continues with the Gutterball Kingpin Band which is filled with United States Naval Academy grads playing a wide range of 70’s funk, 80’s dance and modern hits that you will want to sing and dance to.

The event will also include a wide range of food and drink specials including local oysters for $1 each and veterans will get a free wrist bracelet that gives them $1 Budweisers at the outdoor bars. For everyone else drink specials are $4 Budweiser, $6 Craft Beers and $7 cocktails at the outdoor bars. There will be plenty of additional food specials including crab cakes, sausages, hotdogs and burgers being served from several outdoor grills. There is face painting by Swede-Art for the kids so bring the whole family. After the event head inside to McGarvey’s Saloon for their Marine Corps 244th Birthday Party that kicks off at 6pm. Middleton’s Tavern will also be offering 10 percent off to all military personnel all weekend with ID.

Monday, Veterans Day, November 11, 2019 the City of Annapolis honors veterans during the Annual Veteran’s Day Ceremony hosted by the Fleet Reserve Association. The public is welcome to attend the ceremony. The program begins at 11 am. The City of Annapolis Police and Fire Department marching units and the Annapolis Sea Cadets and Annapolis High School Naval Junior Corps are invited participants. Elected officials and notable veterans will be in attendance. The keynote speaker will be 5th Master Chief Petty Officer of the United States Coast Guard, Mark H. Allen (retired).

New Museum Connects Children To African Heritage

A celebration at The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Pimlico Road Arts and Community Center introduced the Sankofa Children’s Museum of African Cultures to the Park Heights area. More than 70 guests attended the event, dressed in their African attire, on Saturday October 26, 2019.

The event took place in the museum’s showroom, where exhibits of African tribal masks, clothing, and musical instruments surrounded the tables where guests sat. Guests experienced African cuisine like jollof, fried, and white rice, waakye stew, plantain, fried and baked fish, chicken, mixed vegetables, peanut butter soup along with other traditional treats.

Benita Biney, 10. shows off the Ghanaian dance, Adowa at the Sankofa Children's Museum  on Saturday October 26, 2019 in Baltimore.

Mori Johnson

Benita Biney, 10. shows off the Ghanaian dance, Adowa at the Sankofa Children’s Museum on Saturday October 26, 2019 in Baltimore.

WEAA’s 88.9 FM, Sandy Mallory hosted the affair as she sat in her native blue African attire alongside museum founder, Esther “Mama Kiki” Armstrong.

A Ghanian native, Armstrong moved to Maryland and opened the Sankofa African and World Bazaar gift shop in 1994.

“I am aware of how little information, true information there is in our communities about Africa,” said Armstrong. “I found that there are people who really like the culture but don’t know where to get the information.”

Originating in Ghana, the Mwana Pwo, a mask representing a maiden ready for marriage, sits on display at the Sankofa Children's Museum.

Mori Johnson

Originating in Ghana, the Mwana Pwo, a mask representing a maiden ready for marriage, sits on display at the Sankofa Children’s Museum.

Jim Clemmer, Armstrong’s husband is the museum curator. He studied tribal art and is the one who selects which pieces will be showcased.

“This piece is the mwana pwo, which means a beautiful young maiden, fully trained and ready for marriage,” Clemmer explained as he stood next to the case where the Angolan mask sat.

African art and decorations adorn the walls. The first room, which was The Art Room, honored the generosity of the Ferris Family Foundation.

Young visitors to the museum will be able to play and create art. Instruments are there for children to test their musical skills. A large floor puzzle in the shape of Africa is there to help children connect to the continent.

“We are reaching out to schools so they can plan school trips around the museum,” said Armstrong. “We want to incorporate this into their curriculum, so children will be learning history and geography in a fun way and won’t even realize that they are learning.”

During their visit to the children’s museum guests also can visit the gift shop. The gift shop boasts authentic, traditional West African clothing, jewelry, home decorations, works of art, and a story to go with each piece.

“We are not just selling things in my shop, we are trying to educate,” she said. As she touched the patterns on her gown, Armstrong went on to say, “If you want this, I am going to tell you the history of it.”

Armstong said Sankofa is a symbol that comes from the Ashanti tribe in Ghana. It is a bird that resembles a peacock, in the sense that it is colorful and has a long neck. It stands with its head facing backwards while his feet are faced forward. This is the logo for the gift shop, and according to the company’s website, it is a reminder that people need to know and understand their past, so they are able to move forward.

The museum will host its grand opening in February as part of Black History Month.

Admission into the museum is $10.

For more information on how to become a volunteer or to donate to support the museum, call (410) 366-0886.