Leonardtown, MD – African American History Month is an opportunity to share the historic and present contributions of African Americans. As such, the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County
held a ceremony declaring February African American History Month in the county. The event was held as part of a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Drayden African American Schoolhouse.

African American History Month first began as “Negro History Week” back in February 1926 as a supplement to the school curriculum, through the work of African American scholar Dr. Carter
A. Woodson. In the 1960’s, the week was expanded into Black History Month to commemorate, through community activities, a more balanced and accurate picture of Black History and is celebrated annually during the month of February. The celebration coincides with the birthday of Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.

“St. Mary’s County recognizes the significant contributions and tremendous advances African Americans have made and continue to make in our community,” said Commissioner President
Randy Guy. “This is evidenced by the United States Colored Troops Monument in Lancaster Park, the State of Maryland and the world.”

The comments were made before a large crowd at the recently renovated Drayden African American Schoolhouse. Commissioners joined members of the community in a ribbon cutting ceremony unveiling the renovations at the historic schoolhouse. A commendation was also awarded to Don Cropp, a local contractor, acknowledging his time and effort in painstakingly restoring the landmark. A citation from the St. Mary’s County delegation was also read.

In proclaiming African American History Month, the commissioners encourage citizens to honor the many contributions made by African Americans throughout the region and to participate in
the many educational events honoring the contributions of African Americans.

Images courtesy of the St. Mary’s County Public Information Office