HISTORICAL SOCIETY of HARFORD COUNTY, Inc.
AFRICAN-AMERICAN SITES and HISTORY


Old Schools


McComas Institute, Photographed in 2002

(Washburn, D. , The Colored Schools of Harford County: Separate and Equal? Part 1: , Harford Historical Bulletin , The Historical Society of Harford County, Bel Air, MD, No. 101, page 9, Summer/Fall 2005)
For more on Matthew Franklin Johnson


Bel Air Colored High School, Photographed in 2002.

African-Americans helped the County fund this school when it was built in 1924. It was first used as an elementary school, but it was converted to a High School in 1935. Prior to 1935, the only way African-American children could obtain a public High School education was to travel to Baltimore, Cecil County, or to Cambridge, Maryland. The building was used as a school until 1951 and was used for storage and office space until 1999 when restoration began. It was completed in November of 2002. It is currently used as headquarters for Harford County's Habitat for Humanity and the Bel Air Colored High School Alumni Association. (The Aegis Weekender, South Bay, Homestead Publishing Co., page 1, Nov 8, 2002)


Hosanna School without Second Floor, 1867-1868, Photographed in 2004.



Hosanna School Restored with Second Floor, Photographed in January 2006.

The Hosanna School (1867-1868) was the first public African-American school in Harford County. The land where the school stands once belonged to the black Paca family. The Freedmenís Bureau funded the project, but it was the African-American community that actually built the school using recycled lumber. The building was primarily used as a school, but the upper floor served as the Hosanna Church. The school closed in 1946, but two years later it became a black community center. In 1983, local concerned citizens began to seek financial assistance to preserve and restore the school. The Hosanna School was placed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1991, and it was reopened to the public in 1994. In 2000, funds were approved to rebuild the second floor of the school which was completed in 2005. Contact Person: Christine Tolbert (410) 272-0697.
  • Beims, Constance R. and Christine P. Tolbert, A Journey Through Berkley, Maryland: A Tapestry of Black and White Lives Woven Together Over 200 Years at a Rural Crossroads, Gateway Press, Baltimore, 2003.
  • Vaughn, William Preston, Schools for All: The Blacks and Public Education in the South, 1865-1877, University of Kentucky Press, Lexington, 1974.
    "Colored Schoolhouses" Map

    These schools stand as testament to the long and hard struggle of African-Americans to obtain an education for themselves and their children.


    Alfred B. Hilton Memorial Park


    Alfred B. Hilton Memorial Park Dedication, May 30, 2002, Left to Right, James E. Chrismer, Biographer of Alfred B. Hilton, Joyce Hilton Bransford Bird, Descendent, and James M. Harkins, Harford County Executive. Photographed by Robin Kyle Sebold


    Information on Alfred Hilton, Photographed in 2002 by Robin Kyle Sebold.


    The Beginning of Integrated Private Housing in the Nation

    In 1967, the Secretary of Defense ordered that sanctions be placed on all apartments that discriminated against Afro-Americans within 3.5 miles of four Army posts including Edgewood Arsenal and Aberdeen Proving Ground. These sanctions, which proved to be effective, required that no military personnel rent from discriminating landlords. This was the beginning of integrated private housing in the Nation. (MacGregor Jr., M.J., Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965, United States Army, Washington, D.C., p 605, 1981.)

    Dr. Percy Vandella Williams (1914-2009)

    Dr. Williams, a very distinguished educator, died; he was born near Perryman and died in Havre de Grace. He was a teacher, officer in the Army during WWII, supervisor, principal, state assistant superintendent of schools, president of the Harford County Board of Education, and president of Maryland Association of Boards of Education. He overcame many burdens place on him because he was an African American and was a pioneer for ending human inequality. (Spicer, P. P., Decade of Delay: The Desegregation of Harford County Public Schools - Part 1, Harford Historical Bulletin, The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc., Bel Air, MD, Number 105, Winter Spring 2007.) (Kelley, J., Percy V. Williams, The Baltimore Sun, November 17, 2009, www.baltimoreson.com/news/maryland/harford, accessed November 29, 2009.)


    Harford County African-American Bibliography
    Listed in chronological order of publication.
    • The Maryland State Archives has a book of manumissions for Harford County covering 1774 to 1784. In the front of the book, there is an index of the names of the slave holders.
    • MacGregor Jr., M.J., Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965, United States Army, Washington, D.C., p 605, 1981.
    • Afro-American History Month; The Beginnings of Union United Methodist Church From 1849-1860; Freedman's Bureau School Houses; Biographical Sketch, Clayton Creswell Stansbury; Ira Aldridge - Shakespearean Actor, Black Contemporary to Edwin Booth, Harford Historical Bulletin, The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc., Bel Air, MD, Number 15, Winter 1983.
    • Vaughn, Clarence E., Some Venerable Leaders, Harford Historical Bulletin, The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc., Bel Air, MD, Number 20, Spring 1984.
    • Dorsey, James, R.; Cullum, Agnes Kane; Pagan, Margaret D.; Sutherland, Hunter; Cornelia F.Ruff; Cpl. Philip Webster, A Civil War Soldier; The History of Ames United Methodist Church; History of Magnolia School; Slavery In Harford County, Harford Historical Bulletin, The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc., Bel Air, MD, Number 35, Winter 1988.
    • Peden, Henry C., Indentured Blacks of Harford County, Maryland, 1864-1913, MGSB 32 (1), pages 37-53, 1991.
    • Sutherland, Hunter, Slave Manumissions and Sales in Harford County, Maryland, 1775-1865, By Carolyn Greenfield Adams, Heritage Books, Bowie, MD.
    • Chrismer, James, Above and Beyond; The Civil War Careers of Alfred B. Hilton and Charles E. Phelps, Harford Historical Bulletin, The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc., Bel Air, MD, Number 86, Fall 2000.
    • Beims, Constance R. and Christine P. Tolbert, A Journey Through Berkley, Maryland: A Tapestry of Black and White Lives Woven Together Over 200 Years at a Rural Crossroads, Gateway Press, Baltimore, 2003.
    • Washburn, Doug, The Colored Schools of Harford County: Separate and Equal?, Part 1, Harford Historical Bulletin, The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc., Bel Air, MD, Number 101, Summer/Fall 2005.
    • Washburn, Doug, The Colored Schools of Harford County: Separate and Equal?, Part 2 , Harford Historical Bulletin, The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc., Bel Air, MD, Number 102, Winter/Spring 2006.
    • Faber, Dinah, Joseph and Ann Hall: Behind the Scene at Tudor Hall, Harford Historical Bulletin, The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc., Bel Air, MD, Number 104, Fall 2006.
    • Peden, Henry C., African Americans in Harford County, Maryland, 1774-1864, 800 pages on CD, Henry C. Peden, Bel Air, MD, 2008.
    • Spicer, Patrick, P., Decade of Delay: The Desegregation of Harford County Public Schools - Part 1, Harford Historical Bulletin, The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc., Bel Air, MD, Number 105, Winter Spring 2007.
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