Archived News
Women's History Special
20 Distinguished Black Women On The Shore

The public celebration of women's history in this country began in 1978 as "Women's History Week" in Sonoma County, California. The week including March 8, International Women's Day, was selected. In 1981, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) co-sponsored a joint Congressional resolution proclaiming a national Women's History Week. In 1987, Congress expanded the celebration to a month, and March was declared Women's History Month.

Maryland African American Pride Magazine is pleased to salute 20 of the most distinguished Black Women on Maryland's Eastern Shore.


Mary Ashanti
PHOTO (Salisbury) President of the Wicomico County Branch of the NAACP for the last ten years, serves on the executive committee for the Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches and is a co-coordinator of the Maryland Eastern Shore Coalition of NAACP Branches.


JoAnn Asparagus
PHOTO (Easton) The first and only African American to serve as Domestic Relations Master in the State Judicial System on the Shore. The Attorney was appointed the Domestic Relations Master for the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court covering Talbot, Carol-ine, Kent and Queen Anne's Counties in 1996. Mrs. Asparagus-Murray is also the past president of the Talbot County Board of Education.


Norma Lee Barkley
PHOTO (Salisbury) The Chief Orphan's Court Judge for Wicomico County and in her seventh term on the Court. She is the first African American woman to be elected judge in the State. Barkley is also past State head of the Order of the Eastern Star and the Golden Circle (Prince Hall Affiliations).


Dorothy Webb Black
PHOTO (Easton) Founded the Neighborhood Service Center community service organiza-tion in 1969 and was its director until she retired in 1982. Received the Harriet Tubman Award from the Talbot County Branch of the NAACP in 2005 for being a conductor on the railroad of civil rights, equal rights, and humanitarian efforts for nearly 70 years.


Sara Bynum-King
PHOTO (Delmar) Appointed the first Black Town Manager of Delmar Maryland and Delaware in 2002 and the only African American to head a city or town administration on The Shore. She is also past president of the Coastal Community Housing Resources Bd. and financial officer for Grow In Grace Worship Center.


Tracy Cottman
PHOTO (Pocomoke City) Elect-ed the first African American woman on the Pocomoke City Council in 2006, Cottman is executive director of Somerset County's Local Management Board.


Donna Jean Dear
PHOTO (Preston) Elected the first female commander of the Blake-Blackston American Legion Post #77 in Easton in 2006, Ms. Dear is a charter member of Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation and a member of Women's Army Corps Vet-erans Association Heritage Chapter #62, Vietnam Women's Veterans Association and VFW Post #5118 in Easton. She also serves on the Caroline County Personnel Review Board.


Dr. Mary DeShields
PHOTO (Easton) Oncologist at Eastern Shore Oncology, PC Regional Cancer Center in Easton, MD and director of the Cancer Clinical Trials Pro-gram at Shore Health System of Maryland. Dr. DeShields was the 2004 recipient of the US Dept. of Health & Human Services Best Practices Award for Increasing the Availability of Community-based Cancer Clinical Trials in Rural East-ern Shore Maryland.


Jannelle C. Henry
PHOTO (Cambridge) President and owner of Henry Funeral Home, PA in Cambridge, MD since 1994, Jannelle C. Henry-Buck is a licensed mortician and successful businesswoman. She was the 2005 Woman of the Year for Iota Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. national business and professional sorority and is a member of the Board of Directors of 100 Black Women of Funeral Service.


Moonyene Jackson-Amis
PHOTO (Easton) Easton's first and only African American City Councilperson, she heads the effort to build a statute in honor of Fredrick Douglass in front of the Talbot County courthouse and is currently one of the Obama campaign leaders on the Shore.


Loretta B. Jolley
PHOTO (Salisbury) Owner/op-erator of Jolley Memorial Chapels since 1962, she has expanded the business in Salisbury to include locations in Berlin and Deal Island. Her daughter, Patricia, now manag-ers the firm with her. She is also a church and community leader.


Rev. Charlotte Nichols
PHOTO (Salisbury) First African American woman to serve as Easton District Superintendent in the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of the United Methodist Church and current superintendent of its Salisbury District.


Rev. Gloria Ortiz
PHOTO (Fruitland) Serving her third term on the Fruitland City Council, Rev. Ortiz is the only African American on the Council and its first African American woman. She is the founder and pastor of the Cathedral of Deliverance Church in Fruitland and the first African American to be honored as Citizen of the Year in 2002 by the Fruitland Cham-ber of Commerce.


Marva Purnell Greene
PHOTO (Salisbury) Marva Purnell Greene is the first female and African American supervisor of the Wicomico and Somerset Counties' Offices of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Justice. She owns Marva Consulting Associates leadership development, self-esteem building, team building and motivation firm. She is also past president of the Delta Sigma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa alpha Sorority, and the Princess Anne Chapter of Links, Inc.


Sharee Sample-Hughes
PHOTO (Salisbury) Elected the first African American woman to sit on the Wicomico County Council, Sheree represents District 1. She is a community activist and past president of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit #145 in Salisbury,


Eugenie P. Shields
PHOTO (Salisbury) The District 1 Salisbury City Councilwoman since 2005 and the only African American on the Council. A community activist, she received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Wicomico County in 2007 from the Tri-County Organizations' Coalition, Inc.


Dr. Clara Small
PHOTO (Salisbury) Salisbury U. History Professor and noted authority on African-American history, particularly that of Delmarva. Named the 2005 Humanitarian Award winner by the Com-munity Foundation of the Eastern Shore.


Dr. Constance M. Stewart
PHOTO (Salisbury) Site man-ager for Sojourner-Douglass College in Salisbury since it located there in 1998. She retir-ed as supervisor of Wicomico County Public School Elementary Education two years ago. A church and community leader, she is the 2004 recipient of the Omega Citizen of the Year Award and the 2005 recipient of the AKA Spirit of Excellence Award for Education.


Dr. Thelma B. Thompson
PHOTO (Princess Anne) The 12th president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore since 2002, Dr. Thompson is a member of the Greater Salisbury Committee and the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore.


Marie A. Turner
PHOTO (Salisbury) Successful entrepreneur and owner/operator of Extremities Salon & Spa in Salisbury since 2002 when she moved to a new modern facility and changed the business name from Extremities by Marie. A teacher and mentor in the field, she launched Extremities School of the Arts last year to train beauticians in advanced hair styling.

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