Archived News

History-making Delmarva African Americans
Frederick Douglass
(1817-1895)

One of the best known Eastern Shore natives in National Black History is Frederick Douglas. Born a slave in Talbot County, MD named Frederick Augustus Bailey Washington Douglas, he escaped slavery in Baltimore and fled to Massachusetts. He became an orator, preacher, abolitionist, journalist, and public servant. He became hunted and fled to England for two years until some white benefactors bought his freedom. He returned to the US and published The North Star newspaper, a voice for freedom.

Once slavery ended, Douglass continued to speak out against racism and discrimination, and advocated full civil rights for Blacks. He served in four government posts including Ambassador to Haiti and Marshall & Recorder of Deeds of Washington, DC. His motto was "Power concedes nothing without a demand." He died of a stroke in 1895.


PHOTO Harriet Ross Tubman
(1820-1913)

Another of the most widely known Eastern Shore natives in National Black History is Underground Railroad conductress Harriet Ross Tubman. An escaped slave from Dorchester County, Tubman became the preeminent conductor on the Underground Railroad credited with rescuing over 300 slaves. Eastern Shore historian, Dr. Clara Smalls says that the figure is more like three times the 300 she is usually credited for when you include the slaves that she freed in North Carolina.


Charles H. Chipman
(1888-1987)

An educator, administrator, and civic leader, Charles H. Chipman worked to improve the quality of education in Salisbury. He played a key role in the development of Salisbury High School, the first Black high school. Originally from Cape May, NJ, Chipman came to Salisbury in 1915 to be principal of Salisbury Industrial High School. The school building was rented and in desperate need ofrepair. Chipman got the Board of Ed. to pledge some funds and rallied the community to match those funds and build the Salisbury High School. He became president of the MD Education Association and a well-known community and church leader.

Dr. Chipman married Jeanette Pinkett, an educator and a descendant of one of the founders of the John Wesley Church. Both were active members of that oldest known Black congregation on the Eastern Shore -- possibly in the State. That congregation merged with White's Temple to form the current Wesley Temple United Methodist Church and moved to a new location. The church building and property was purchased by the Chipmans to preserve it and form the cultural center.

The building has since been developed into a community arts cultural center and museum named in his honor. Chipman Elementary School in Salisbury also honors him.


Stephen H. Long
(1865-1921)

Stephen H. Long was known as Worcester County's "Defender of Education. " A native of Boston, he was born in 1865 and gained his fame in 1914. Long began his teaching career in Somerset County and eventually became the principal of the Pocomoke Grammar School of Bank and Fifth Streets. In 1914, he became the first African American school supervisor in Worcester County.

Long initiated several model programs for African American youth including a home economics course and extended education for older children who were no longer required to attend school. He was murdered on Sept. 13, 1921 for his efforts to ensure that orphans used as farm labor received the education to which they were entitled.

The Stephen Long Guild was established in his memory by Blacks in Worcester County to promote Black heritage and encourage Black achievement. It is still active.


Charles Albert Tindley
(1855-1921)

The "Prince of Preachers," Charles Albert Tindley was born about 1855 in Berlin, Worcester County. He founded one of the largest Methodist congregations serving the African American community on the East Coast and is recognized as one of the founding fathers of American gospel music. The Tindley Temple United Methodist Church in Philadelphia is named after him. His hymnal, Songs of Paradise, is still in use, and five of his hymns appear in the revised Methodist hymnal used worldwide.


"Judy" Johnson
(1899-1989)

William Julius "Judy" Johnson was born in Snow Hill on Oct. 16, 1899. He began his Negro League baseball career in 1918 and ended it in 1939. He played in more that 3,000 professional games, earning recognition from his peers as the best all-time third baseman. Johnson later served as a teacher of baseball and worked as a scout for the Philadelphia Athletics. In 1975, "Judy" Johnson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.


Maulana Karenga
Born Ronald Everett and raised in Parsonsburg, MD, Dr. Karenga has become an internationally recognized authority on Black History. He is credited with creating Kwanzaa and popularizing the celebration of the non-religious cultural holiday.


Rudolph C. Cane
Rudolph C. Cane of Hebron is the Eastern Shore's first Black representative to the MD State House of Delegates. He was elected to represent District 37A in 1998 and reelected in the elections last fall. He was the first to represent the majority - Black District 1 on the Wicomico County Council in 1990 and the second to serve on the Council. A native of Somerset County, Cane graduated from high school in Crisfield and joined the US Army. He studied at UMES and earned his B.S. Degree from Coppin State College. He is retired from the Maryland State Highway Department and has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors at SHORE UP! where he is still an Administrator.

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