Angela Wilson’s Tears Of The Soul Production Looks At Memphis Sanitation Strike

On February 1, 1968, two Memphis garbage collectors, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, were crushed to death by a malfunctioning truck. Twelve days later, frustrated by the city’s response to the latest event in a long pattern of neglect and abuse of its black employees, 1,300 black men from the Memphis Department of Public Works went on strike.

The Memphis sanitation workers’ strike is remembered as an example of African-Americans standing up for themselves. During their strike, sanitation workers marched in the face of racial injustice donning signs which read “I Am A Man.” The strike is also remembered as the prelude to the assassination of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King was shot by a sniper who was identified as James Earl Ray, as the civil rights leader stood on the balcony of Memphis’ Lorraine Hotel.

One local playwright has captured how this historic movement played out through the eyes of a Memphis family through her stage play drama “Tears Of The Soul.”

“Tears Of The Soul is historical and educational,” said writer Angela Wilson, who also produced and directed the gripping production. “I love Black History. As a playwright, you come across something you believe makes a good story. When I began researching James Earl Ray, I was struck by the sanitation workers’ sacrifice.”

Sanitation workers, led by collector-turned-union-organizer, T. O. Jones, and supported by the president of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Jerry Wurf, demanded recognition of their union, better safety standards, and a decent wage.

“They didn’t have anything, but were willing to stand up and say, ‘this isn’t right, and we deserve to be treated better’”, said Wilson. “I was really inspired by them and began to see them as heroes. Everyone knows about Dr. King, but I wanted to share the story of the AFSCME union workers.”

(Left-right): Evelyn C. Liggins, Memphis sanitation worker Cleophus Smith, and Playwright Angela Wilson

Courtesy Photo

(Left-right): Evelyn C. Liggins, Memphis sanitation worker Cleophus Smith, and Playwright Angela Wilson

The story is centered around the Barnes Family, and how the strike and impending death of Dr. King impacted their household. “Fred Barnes” (Pierre Walters) and his wife “Vivian Barnes” (Joelle Denise) endured their share of pain, which included marital challenges, militancy in their children, and the shocking news of King’s assassination. The family also included “Ida Mae” (Regina Gail Malloy), “Dexter” (Devin King), and “Gina” (Leah Mallory).

Despite the many challenges they encountered, the close-knit family weathered the storm, and grew closer together. Through “Eileen Bridgewater” (Sharon Goldner), the play also highlighted the sacrifices made by Caucasians who supported the movement.

The cast also included Robert Freemon, who portrayed Memphis sanitation worker“ Turner Davis” and Michael Roxie Johnson who played his wife “Maxine Davis.”

“Most of the cast were not even born, and had very little knowledge of this story,” said Wilson. They did research on their own and really delved into some ugly stuff. You could see that they understood what they had learned, and it came through in their performance.”

“Tears of the Soul” was performed in April and October of 2018 at the Chesapeake Arts Center located on Hammonds Ferry Road in Brooklyn, Park, Maryland. Plans are in the works for a return engagement of the production.

Pierre Walters (Fred Barnes) and Robert Freemon (Turner Davis) portrayed Memphis sanitation workers in the production.

Pierre Walters (Fred Barnes) and Robert Freemon (Turner Davis) portrayed Memphis sanitation workers in the production.

Cleophus Smith, who was among the Memphis union workers, attended the October performance.

“He is very humble and a wealth of information,” said Wilson. “He was able to really help me to understand what it was like for them, which was something you could not read in a book.

“There are 28 remaining workers, and they travel a lot. I felt blessed and honored that he thought this was important enough to come and share this experience with us.”

Wilson is the founder of the AngelWing Project, Inc (AWP), a 501(c) 3 non-profit performing arts organization that promotes the development of the performing arts in the local community.

“Where are we today 50 years later?” asked Wilson. “There are a lot of parallels. The message of this play can help us to deal with some of the things we are dealing with today, especially when it comes to listening to one another.”

Decades later, in 2017, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced a group of 14 city sanitation workers from 1968 would be getting $50,000 grants from the city, totaling $700,000.

“They did get an increase in wages, but it still took a long time,” said Wilson. “In 2017, the remaining workers were awarded back pay. It was 50 years later, but the remaining ones received a nice contribution from the city.”

AWP’s next production is RISING UP: A Dramatic Presentation of Notable African American Firsts. The admission price is $10, and will take place on February 24, 2019 at the Chesapeake Performing Arts Center.

For more information about AWP, visit

Nominations Open For 2019 Black History Month Community Leaders Awards

The Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism announced the opening of the nomination period for the Annual Black History Month Community Leaders Awards.

The awards ceremony, which was introduced last year, recognizes Maryland-based, African American-founded organizations that provide exceptional volunteer service to improve Maryland communities for all. Recipients will be announced during an awards ceremony in February 2019.

“The inaugural Black History Month Community Leaders Awards program was met with an overwhelmingly positive reception and we had the honor of awarding some outstanding Marylanders during an uplifting and inspirational ceremony appropriately held at the Banneker-Douglass Museum,” said Van Brooks, director of the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism. “We remain committed to recognizing all Marylanders who seek to improve the world around us through service and volunteerism, and look forward to seeing this year’s nominations to learn about the significant contributions that Maryland’s African American-founded organizations continue to provide for our communities.”

Over 100 nominations were received for the inaugural Black History Month Community Leaders Awards and ten organizations were selected to be presented the accolade during an awards ceremony held at the Banneker-Douglass Museum last February.

The deadline to submit a nomination for eligible organizations is Friday, January 4, 2019. Eligible organizations must be Maryland-based, African American-founded, and must have been operational for at least two years. Selection for the awards will be based on nominations received that describe the highest degree of meaningful volunteer commitment and service, making a transformative impact in the community.

Recipients of the awards will be notified and honored in a February 2019 ceremony in Annapolis.

For more information and to nominate an organization, visit:

Free Museum Tickets for Maryland Volunteers for Black History Month

— In celebration of Black History Month, the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism Director, Van Brooks, announced that free tickets are available to the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park; the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum; and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum for Maryland volunteers.

The initiative was introduced to thank volunteers and encourage education on African American history in Maryland, and comes on the heels of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s issuance of a proclamation declaring 2018 as the “Year of Frederick Douglass” in honor of the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of the renowned abolitionist and Maryland native.

“During Black History Month and in this Year of Frederick Douglass, we are pleased to introduce this “Free Museum Tickets” initiative and encourage Maryland volunteers to gain inspiration and insight from the experiences of our nation’s great African Americans during their museum visits,” said Van Brooks, Director of the Governor’s Office for Service and Volunteerism. “Our office hopes to inspire this generation of service leaders to continue on the work of their predecessors and continue to make a difference in Maryland communities.”

Tickets are available at no cost to volunteers, and will be issued by the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism. Volunteers may request up to 10 tickets to visit one of the participating museums.

For more information, including how to request tickets, visit the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism’s website:

Women’s History Month at Hampton National Historic Site

Hampton National Historic Site acknowledges all American women’s contributions during Women’s History Month. Join us in the Orangery for a soul stirring, inspirational and enlightening tributes to some of the greatest women in the United States’ history.

Frederick Douglass: The Man for Women’s Rights

Sunday, March 4, 2018, 2 pm – 3 pm

You know Frederick Douglass as the abolitionist, iconic orator and statesmen. But do you know Douglass the Women ‘s Suffragist? Master Storyteller/actor and former president of the Griots’ Circle of Maryland, Robert Smith will give a rarely seen portrayal of Douglass in honor of Women’s History Month. Join us in the orangery at Hampton NHS for a history lesson that you will only get outside of the classroom.

“Remember the Ladies:” The Remarkable Women of Hampton,

Sunday, March 11, 2018, 2 pm – 3 pm in the Orangery

In honor of Women’s History Month, Hampton National Historic Site Curator Gregory Weidman will present a talk on the lives of the accomplished women of the Ridgely family from the late 18th to the mid-20th century. Whether they were artists, missionaries or horticulturists, enslaved or world travelers, authors or Lieutenants in the Army, their stories cover a fascinating range of American and local history.

“The Mothers of Movements in US History”

Sunday, March 25, 2018 2 pm – 3 pm

Zora Neal Hurston needs inspiration while writing her latest novel. She calls on incredible women from the past and the future to assist her such as: Phillis Wheatley Mahalia Jackson and Maya Angelou. Her good friend, Langston Hughes helps to guide her through the process and gives Zora advise along the way.

Admission and parking are free. Seating is limited and on a “first come, first serve” basis. No reservations will be taken. Wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit our website or call 410 823-1309 x254. 535 Hampton Lane, Towson, MD 21286

Bates, Center of Excellence: Memories of Bates Teachers

The Kunta Kinte – Alex Haley Foundation announces the debut of the documentary film, “Bates, Center of Excellence: Memories of Bates Teachers,” between February 17, 2018 and February 25, 2018 at the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center located at 1101 Smithville Street in Annapolis.

Multiple viewing events are scheduled, which are open to the public and free of charge. Seating is limited and attendees are requested to register in advance. For the complete schedule and to register, visit or

The documentary is part of the Kunta Kinte – Alex Haley Foundation’s ongoing effort to promote African American legacy endeavors in the City of Annapolis and throughout Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

The mission of the foundation is to spread Alex Haley’s vision of a world that celebrates ethnic diversity through genealogy and historical research, as well as through educational and cultural programs. For many, the foundation is best known for its work in leading the effort to erect the Alex Haley Memorial on the Annapolis City docks.

Based on the reflections and memories from interviews of 15 former teachers of Bates High School, the documentary tells the story of Bates from the prospective of educators who had firsthand experiences in teaching at the school. Bates was the only secondary school for African Americans in Anne Arundel County prior to the integration of public schools in the County in the 1960’s.

The facility opened its doors in the early 1930’s and continued operations as a high school for African American students until 1966. With the integration of public schools in the County, the Bates program changed and began operating as a junior high school until it was closed in 1981. As a result of community advocacy and support, the building was repurposed in 2006 and now houses the Annapolis Boys and Girls Club, the Annapolis Senior Center, senior housing, and the Bates Legacy Center, a museum that tells the story of Bates High School and one of its founders, Wiley H. Bates.

As the only secondary school for African Americans in the County, Bates served students in grades 7-12. In addition to serving African American secondary students in the city of Annapolis, students as far north as Brooklyn Park and as far south as Friendship went to Bates. The school operated with a massive transportation system, since between 75 to 85 percent of the students traveled by bus. Consequently, given its large enrollment, Bates operated with many different satellite or expansion sites throughout the downtown Annapolis area.

In the documentary, one of the former teachers explained that Bates became a powerhouse with a broad range of academic and career educational programs. Moreover, the school had an extensive and impressive extra-curricular program, with many clubs and athletic offerings. Another former teacher shared that coming from a small school on the Eastern Shore, her student body almost trembled when they played against Bates in competitive sports. Bates excelled in sports, dramatic presentations, and it choral competitions, with a choir purported to be 200 in number.

In addition to the excellent programs for students, Bates became the hub of the African American community in Annapolis. Parents and other community members were active partners in the cultural and extra-curricular programs, as well as in the education of the children. Teachers reiterated that failure was not an option for students. Hence, Bates programs and services to students were truly indicative of a village where everyone had a stake in the education and growth of the students.

Bates had a far-reaching impact on the lives of most African American families in Anne Arundel County. In fact, the Bates educational experience became a connective glue that linked many of the African American communities across the County because individuals, their family members, and their friends all went to Bates.

Hearing the collective memories of Bates from the experiences of the 15 former teachers is the basis for the documentary. Not only is it educational and insightful, the memories and stories are nostalgic and provide firsthand insight into another era.

This documentary film is supported through individual contributions to the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation, as well as from grant funds provided from the City of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County Arts Council, and the Four Rivers Heritage Area.

To ensure seating availability, register early to view this wonderful educational event.

Author Recounts Recy Taylor’s Assault and Black History

Years before Oprah Winfrey’s stirring speech at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards where the talk show queen spoke about Recy Taylor, historian and author Danielle L. McGuire had already uncovered the explosive story of the 24-year-old African-American sharecropper who was raped by six white men in 1944 as she walked home from a late night church service.

McGuire researched her book for more than seven years and learned that, after the incident, the NAACP office in Montgomery, Alabama sent Rosa Parks to investigate the case.

While Taylor’s tragic plight is detailed extensively in the book, “At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance – a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power,” McGuire delves deep into the history of violence against black women in America.

“I started with a woman named Betty Jean Owens of Tallahassee, Florida, who was raped by four white men,” McGuire said.

“Her friends went to the police and normally white southern police officers wouldn’t believe a group of black women but [eventually] Betty Jean Owens’ testimony in a Jim Crow courtroom helped to secure life sentences for the crime. It was the first time that I found that white men were convicted for the rape of a black woman.”

McGuire’s book notes that the protests of black women against rape fueled major civil rights campaigns across the South, including the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott, the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer and the 1965 Selma campaign.

“I knew that rape was common during slavery and I wanted to know if the practices that were so common during slavery continued after emancipation, so I was researched sexual violence against black women by white men,” McGuire said. “In one of the archives, I found a pamphlet from the Civil Rights Congress, which was kind of a leftist northern civil rights organization. The pamphlet was a listing of crimes that had been committed against African-Americans. It said something like ‘the Committee for Equal Justice for Mrs. Recy Taylor petitioned Gov. Chauncey Sparks for justice in her case.’”

McGuire discerned that if governors had archives, there had to be some pertinent details in them.

“I went to Alabama and I ordered Gov. Chauncey Sparks’ papers— he had four boxes of material on Recy Taylor. It was absolutely astounding. It was like an archival gold mine in the sense that you never find those kind of detailed documents on women. You also never find investigations in that era, where it’s sort of proved that the state was trying to cover up and protect assailants in a crime,” she said. She also realized the significance of the history she had uncovered.

“Locally, if you laid out the petitions and post cards by cities, what you saw was a map of the Civil Rights Movement,” McGuire said.

Additionally, McGuire discovered petitions from black women’s organizations, organized labor unions, black workers and individuals including Rosa Parks.

“It was the building blocks, the network, the highways and the roads of the freedom movement,” McGuire said of those findings.

“At the Dark End of the Street …” centers black women’s experiences and leadership in the civil rights movement, like Betty Jean Owens’ historic testimony in 1959 and Joan Little’s bold resistance to sexual assault while incarcerated in North Carolina in the 1970s.

However, since Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech about Taylor, who died on December 28, 2017 at the age of 97, more attention has been given to the assault case that never went to trial as two all-white, all-male grand juries refused to indict the men.

“Some on the grand jury were neighbors of the assailants,” McGuire said. “When I first started doing research into her case, there was absolutely nothing written. It’s incredible, that her story has been carried by so many people. I only wish that Oprah could have met her because I think she would have been as inspired by her as I am. Clearly it sparked something in her to make her talk about (Taylor) at the Golden Globes.”

“At The Dark End of the Street,” is available for purchase at and at other book sellers.

32nd Fallen Heroes Day honors police, firefighters killed in line of duty

Baltimore— The 32nd annual Fallen Heroes Day ceremony will be held on Friday, May 5, 2017 at 1 p.m. at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. The annual event, which attracts more than 1,500 guests from across the state of Maryland, honors and remembers police and correctional officers, firefighters, and emergency medical/rescue personnel who died in the line of duty during the past year. It is the only statewide ceremony in the nation that brings together all segments of the public safety community. Fallen Heroes Day is also an opportunity for the public to show their appreciation for those who risk their lives every day to protect the citizens of Maryland.

The 2017 Fallen Heroes Day ceremony will honor Firefighter/Paramedic Lieutenant John Ulmschneider of the Prince George’s County Fire Department who died just weeks before the 2016 ceremony. On April 15, 2016, Firefighter/PM Lieutenant Ulmschneider and another medic responded to a “welfare call” at the home of a man suspected to be suffering from a medical emergency. When there was no answer at the door, forcible entry was used. The occupant of the home shot at the medics, mortally wounding 37-year-old Firefighter/PM Lieutenant Ulmschneider, a 13-year member of the Fire/EMS Department.

The ceremony will begin with a procession of more than 25 honor guard units from across the state, police motorcycle and mounted units, bagpipers, and drummers. Kai Jackson, veteran journalist and Fox 45 News anchor will be the keynote speaker.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Keiffer J. Mitchell, Jr., Special Advisor, Governor’s Legislative Office, will give memorial addresses. Princella Hunter, the mother of Fallen

Hero Trooper First Class Shaft Hunter who was honored at the 2012 Fallen Heroes Day Ceremony, will speak as a survivor. Television news anchor and radio host Mary Beth Marsden will serve as MC.

During the ceremony, the family of Firefighter/PM Lieutenant Ulmschneider will be presented with a replica of the Fallen Heroes Memorial and a resolution from the Maryland General Assembly. Additionally, one police officer and two firefighters who died in the line of duty, before Fallen Heroes Day was established in 1986, will be remembered and their families will be presented with a Governor’s Proclamation.

“Our hearts go out to the Ulmschneider family as we remember Firefighter/ Paramedic Lieutenant John Ulmschneider and those public servants across the nation who have died in the line of duty,” said John O. Mitchell, III, Chairman of Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens. “This year, as always, Fallen Heroes Day provides an opportunity for the citizens of Maryland to take time to show appreciation and respect for the men and women who risk their lives each day when they report to work.”

Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens was established in 1958 by John Armiger, Sr. In 1976, he set aside 330 burial spaces for fallen heroes and their spouses. Ten years later, he established the tradition of Fallen Heroes Day.

Keeping with tradition, Governor Larry Hogan has issued a proclamation declaring May 5, 2017 as Fallen Heroes Day in Maryland and has ordered flags flown at half-staff at the State House and all state facilities.

The Fallen Heroes Memorial is located within Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, 200 East Padonia Road in Timonium.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park Opens

The grand opening for the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center was held in Church Creek, Maryland in Dorchester County March 11-12, 2017. According to the National Park Service, visitors will experience Harriet Tubman’s home, where she was born into slavery, grew into a young woman determined to gain freedom, and where she returned to rescue her family and friends to bring them North to freedom. Above: Kim Cornish, a descendant of Harriet Tubman stands beside the image of William Henry (Ross) Stewart, one of Harriet’s brothers who escaped with her during Christmas 1854. The image was donated byJudith Bryant, the great-great-grandniece of Harriet Tubman. (See article on page 10)

New Film Honors First Black Player in NBA History

Three years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, a 21-year-old from Alexandria, Va, became the first African-American to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Earl Lloyd, born in Jim Crow Era Virginia in 1928 to a father who worked in the coal industry and a stay-at home mother, was drafted in the ninth round 1950 NBA Draft by the Washington Capitals.Known as “The Big Cat,” Lloyd made his NBA debut on October 31, 1950 and scored six points. He would go on to play nine seasons in the NBA with Washington,

Syracuse and Detroit, where he averaged more than eight and six rebounds. Lloyd died in 2015at the age of 86.Several current NBA star players, including Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks and Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs are paying homage to Lloyd in The First to Do it: The Life & Times of Earl Lloyd, a new documentary about the hardwood pioneer.“It is important to make this type of film because it’s imperative to know the history of our pioneers, those who pushed the needle forward for us,” said Coodie Simmons, one of the film’s directors. “If we don’t tell their stories, who else will care enough to tell them? It’s our responsibility as storytellers.

”Throughout the coming spring, private screenings are scheduled in Detroit, where Lloyd played and later coached; West Virginia, where Lloyd attended college; Alexandria, Virginia, where he was born; and Washington, D.C. and New York. It’s anticipated the film will receive wide release in theatres in April or May.The First to Do It will be screened at NBA All-Star Weekend on Feb. 16 in New Orleans and is anticipated to be released in April or May in theaters everywhere.

Directed by Simmons and Chike Ozah, and produced by Arka Sengupta, the film boasts an executive producer list that includes Anthony Parker, former Dallas Maverick; Michael Finley, and Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs.On October 31, 1950, Lloyd stepped onto the court with the Washington Capitols and became the first African-American to play in the NBA. He went on to become the first African American to win a NBA championship with the Syracuse Nationals, and the first African American full-time head coach in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons.

Lloyd was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.

When once asked about his greatest achievement in basketball, he replied, “Getting there. ”The film recounts Lloyd’s journey, from growing up in deeply segregated Alexandria to witnessing the first black President of the United States”The film also tells the story of how the modern game””was formed–from the dominance of the Harlem Globetrotters to the introduction of the 24-second clock.

“The new documentary also examines the legacy of””desegregation in America and the ongoing role basket-“”ball has played in America’s inner cities.””“The story of Earl Lloyd needed to be told in a way””that would reach today’s young generation of basketball fans,” said Sherrie Deans, executive director of the NBPA Foundation, which producers say provided a substantial grant for the making of the film. “He is one of the founding fathers of what the NBA has become today, paving the way and setting an example for athletes both on and off court. His legacy isn’t just a part””of black history, it is a part of American history, and we””are proud to be involved in this film.”

“It is important to learn from Lloyd who represented a model citizen and lived a life worth dissecting, Ozah said.

“His journey alone tells us about our progress or lack”thereof in America, which is relevant now more than ever. Earl’s story should never be forgotten simply be- cause of his contributions, not just as a basketball player but as a human being whose life touched so many others,” he said. “Earl Lloyd planted a seed that grew into the type of tree that a lot of people can continue to eat from.”

Morgan State reopens civil rights museum

To some, it was a long time coming but, to others, the reopening of the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum on Saturday, June 11, 2016 happened just on time— at the right time.

“The ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the official reopening of the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum was an excellent and well put together affair with a great turnout. There was overwhelming excitement surrounding the event, as many were eager to see and experience the upgrades that had been made to this historic location,” said Larry Jones, a spokesperson at Morgan State University, which owns and operates the Bolton Hill-located museum named after Jackson, the longtime head of Baltimore’s NAACP.

“We were very pleased with the event and the community support. It showed a great interest in this piece of Baltimore and Maryland history,” Jones said.

The museum, which had undergone a substantial $3 million renovation which university officials said was carefully conducted, highlights the life and legacy of Jackson, a noted civil rights activist.

When visitors enter, they are greeted by a large sign that reads “A Man Was Lynched Yesterday,” in reference to the display at New York’s NAACP in the 1930s. Also among the eye-catching exhibits is an encased newspaper article that shows a photo of George Armwood, the last African-American man killed by a lynch mob in Maryland in 1933.

“Dr. Jackson’s participation in Baltimore’s Civil Rights Movement was vital to initiating significant change and we’re proud to share that history with the world, introducing her contributions to a new generation of museum goers,” Morgan State’s Dr. David Wilson said in a news release. “With the reopening of this important piece of civil rights history, we are able to further expand Morgan’s educational offerings on the movement and create a place that offers a unique learning experience.

The newly modernized museum, which is located a short distance from the Morgan campus in Baltimore’s Bolton Hill Community, services the university’s museum studies program and houses two period rooms along with six galleries of exhibits throughout the converted four-story row home.

Included among the exhibits are drawings, paintings, letters, photographs and historic documents related to the Civil Rights Movement. The museum’s new and otherwise enhanced features include a separate garage structure converted into a Resource Center for scholars; digital friendly systems and technological upgrades; an elevator; and rehabilitated structural and architectural components.

“Of the hundreds who were on hand to witness and celebrate the occasion, many seemed to have a personal connection to the history portrayed in the museum or the family that used to occupy the space,” Jones said. “Those in attendance included members of Baltimore’s well-known Mitchell family (Sen. [Ret.] Michael Mitchell, Keiffer Mitchell & others), civil rights activist Dr. Helena Hicks, local and elected officials, Morgan State faculty and staff, and residents of the community.”

Jackson served for more than three decades as president of the Baltimore Chapter of the NAACP. Her home was a regular meeting place for organizing civil rights campaigns.

Prior to her death in 1975, Jackson requested that her home be used as a living museum to honor those individuals that fought bigotry in Baltimore, officials noted in a news release.

The state legislature transferred the property to Morgan State in June 1996 and the museum, one of two that is owned and operated by the school, remained closed due to the need for extensive repairs and renovations.

“The response to the museum’s reopening was very positive. Attendees were impressed with the numerous upgrades and new amenities that the museum offered,” Jones said.

“As family members toured the facility each encounter with an object, picture or setting seemed to generate a fond memory that they wanted to share. And then there was the look on the faces of several people, young and old, who were seeing the museum for the first time.”