Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Roland Park (39.354660, -76.636170)

Roland Park as viewed in 1967 and 1947. First is a promotional brochure from 1967 followed by a short history of the Roland Park Civic League written by Federal Judge W. Calvin Chesnut who lived at 111 Ridgewood Road.

111 Ridgewood Road, Roland Park, Baltimore

[Taken from Google Maps]

Roland Park (39.354660, -76.636170)

[1967 Promotional Brochure]

Roland Park, named for Roland Thornberry, an English landowner in Baltimore County, had its first beginnings back in 1890 when William Edmunds decided to develop 100 acres of his property lying between Roland Avenue (then Maryland Avenue), Wyndhurst, Cold Spring Lane, and the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad. On June 7, 1892 the first lots were put on sale. Soon, the 264-acre Oakland Estate was acquired together with other tracts which extended Roland Park to its final boundaries. A unique suburban residential area which was destined to serve as a model for numerous other developments, both in this country and abroad, had come into existence.

Over the years, Roland Park has changed in many ways. The horses are gone, the old water tower at Upland and Club Road with its iron stairway winding upward to an observation platform is gone and so is the Lake Roland Elevated Railway with its nine-block long trestle over Guilford Avenue. Undoubtedly, as the automobile came in, a leisurely way of life went out. But with all the changes of the past 75 years, Roland Park has remained a fine residential community.

How is it that Roland Park has retained its residential quality for this long period while other communities have withered, grown into commercialism, or even lapsed into slums?

The credit for Roland Park's durability as a residential community goes back to Edmund H. Bouton who conceived the plan of incorporating land use restrictions within each property deed— the first such residential deed restrictions ever required or enforced in the United States.

A restriction which was most important in the original shaping of Roland Park and subsequent preservation of its character was the requirement for architectural approval of buildings, additions and alterations, and number of residences per lot. In another provision, residents were required to pay an annual fee for maintenance of the streets and sidewalks and for the removal of leaves and debris from the lots, lanes and streets. These requirements have been administered since 1909 by the Roland Park Roads and Maintenance Corporation.

The Roland Park Civic League and the Maintenance Corporation together provide the surveillance so necessary for safeguarding the heritage which has given the community its unique character. Recently, as a result of the increase in population and accompanying rise in land values and taxes, attempts have been made by developers and other commercial interests to break down the zoning barrier. The Civic League has taken appropriate action against these and other threats to community standards through its active committees, its legal counsel, meetings with city officials, the presentation of statements and petitions at hearings, and mass action of the residents when needed. Protection of Roland Park from commercial encroachment does not come cheap. The best hope of the developers is to maintain pressure with their superior financial resources until the residents become discouraged and divided. This approach will fail if the residents present a united front in protecting their interests.

The Maintenance Corporation obtains funds from mandatory fees collected from each property owner. Contrariwise, the Civic League is entirely dependent upon the dues paid by its

members and contributions from individuals interested in preserving the integrity of Roland Park. To achieve maximum effectiveness, the Civic League needs the support of all residents of Roland Park. Although not all residents have the time or inclination to actively participate in the work of the Civic League, all residents can support its purposes by becoming dues-paying members.

The officers of the Civic League and Maintenance Corporation maintain liaison with residents through the plat representatives and directors listed on the insert. Residents are urged to contact their plat representatives on community matters. Problems that cannot be handled directly will be brought to the attention of the Board of Directors for action or referred to a committee for study and recommendation. Residents interested in obtaining swimming pool privileges should call the Roland Park office, TU 7-3519. Residents who wish to participate in the work of the Civic League should contact the president and volunteer to serve as an assistant plat representative or on one of the committees which operate in such varied areas as deed restrictions, membership, publicity, traffic, zoning, beautification, youth services, institutions, and public safety.

Drive or walk through Roland Park and view its varied and interesting architecture, the sweeping lawns, trees and shrubbery. The area has a charm all its own. Children of old families who have married and moved away often return to raise their own families in the familiar neighborhood. Do your part to preserve Roland Park by joining with your neighbors as members of the Civic League.



W. Calvin Chesnut


Roland Park was made possible by the opening of the Lake Roland Elevated Railway in the 80's. Plat 1 of Roland Park, comprising the territory bounded by Cold Spring Lane on the south, the then Forest Road on the east (parallelling the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad), Wyndhurst Avenue on the north and Roland Avenue on the west, was laid out about 1891. The plat included lots fronting on Roland Avenue and running west back to Long Lane. The enterprise was financed by an English syndicate with some local directors. During the next ten years most of the lots in Plat 1 had been sold by the Roland Park Company and the properties improved by buildings practically all of frame and many of shingle construction. Mr. Edward H. Bouton had been brought from Kansas City to be the president of the development company, and engaged the advisory services of Mr. Olmstead, a nationally known landscape architect, whose services were invaluable in creating what became at the time the most highly developed and attractive suburb in the country. The deeds for the individual lots in Plat 1 were granted by the Company subject to certain restrictions as to character, location, style of building's, and permissible uses of the property. The lots were also subjected to a proportionate maintenance tax and the restrictions were perpetual.

In 1901 the Company decided to expand its development and laid out Plat 2 which comprised the property lying to the west of Plat 1, bounded by Cold Spring Lane on the south, a lane parallel to and about 200 feet westerly of Ridgewood Road on the west, and running northerly to Club Road and including that part of the property of the Baltimore Country Club extending to the Falls Road. The Country Club had been organized in 1898 and a year later began its activities with an attractive club house and 100 acres of ground extending on both sides of the Falls Road, on which by standards then prevailing, a very modern golf course had been built. The Club had been sponsored very largely <by the Roland Park Company and very much accelerated the development of Roland Park. The first houses built in Plat 2 were on Ridgewood Road and a few years later Club Road and Goodwood Gardens were opened and houses, largely of brick or plaster, were built.

In 1905 the Roland Park Company opened a third plat comprising generally the territory to the west of Roland Avenue and north of the Baltimore Country

Club and bounded on the west by the Falls Road. The restrictions in the deeds to Plats 2 and 3 were not made perpetual except as to the maintenance tax, but were limited in duration to 25 years. Along Ridgewood Road these restrictions were in 1925 voluntarily extended by the property owners for a further period of 25 years. It is impossible to over-value the great importance of the restrictions in the deeds in their contribution to the successful development and maintenance of Roland Park as a stable residential neighborhood. The modern zoning laws of Baltimore City now materially contribute to the same result.

It is interesting to remember the physical and geographical features of Roland Park in the early years up to about 1910. Roland Avenue was the principal highway and was only partly hard surfaced. Cold Spring Lane was a narrow road running westerly from Charles Street to Roland Avenue and was largely merely a dirt road. What is now University Parkway and 40th Street from Charles Street to Roland Avenue was a narrow winding muddy or dusty lane known as Merryman's Lane, beginning at the toll gate then situated on Charles Street Avenue, and meandering to Roland Avenue across Stony Run by a narrow iron bridge. This was the period just before the advent of automobiles which began to become numerous by 1910. The approach to Roland Park from the City was by horse conveyances out Merryman's Lane or Cold Spring Lane, but more generally by the trolley car then as now known as the No. 10 Line, which ran from Highlandtown by way of Pratt Street and Howard Street over Stony Run viaduct through Hampden to Roland Avenue, and Roland Avenue' to Roland Park. Major Venable as president of the Park Board, visualized and effectively caused the construction of Charles Street Avenue north of 25th Street as a boulevard, and University Parkway naturally followed on with the active cooperation of the Roland Park Company. The United Railways then constructed its No. 29 car line running to Roland Park and this furnished a more direct and attractive approach from down town Baltimore. What is now Plat 5 was then developed by the Roland Park Company lying to the east of Roland Avenue south of Cold Spring Lane, and bounded on the east by Stony Run and the south by what was then Merryman's Lane, and is now 40th Street.

Early in the development of Plat 1 the need was felt for some local neighborhood association to protect and advance the interests of the new suburban settlement, which in a few years numbered several hundred residents. All of Roland Park was then in Baltimore County and without adequate fire protection, and practically all the houses were of frame construction. The most vital neighborhood need obviously was local fire protection. This shortly lead

to the formation of a volunteer fire company which was located in the predecessor of the present fire engine house on Upland Road adjoining the United Railways car barn. Out of this volunteer fire department developed the Association known as the Civic League which was formed primarily for the purpose of maintaining the fire company through the dues paid by members of the League. The first meeting place of the Civic League was on the second floor of the engine house which also served as the local police station. Later the League generally held its monthly and annual meetings at the Women's Club, corner Roland Avenue and Ridgewood Road. Still later the meetings were sometimes held in the basement of the local branch of the Pratt Library on Roland Avenue and still other meetings have been held at the Baltimore Country Club. The scope of the activities of the Civic League was soon widened to include the more general interests and needs of the neighborhood in respect to its property values and interests. The maintenance tax provided a fund to defray in whole or in part the cost of street lighting, a sewerage plant, and the maintenance and care of the Roland Park roads. Water was furnished by a separate corporation known as the Roland Park Water Company, which drew its supply entirely from artesian wells. The water was metered and the rates were not unreasonable for the excellent quality of the water furnished. One of the pump houses, now abandoned, may still be found on the Baltimore Country Club golf course immediately adjoining the 17th green.

The development of Plat 1 with the large increase in the number of houses and of residents, added materially to the tax assessable values in that particular part of Baltimore County; and the maintenance tax soon proved to be inadequate for the expanding needs of the neighborhood in the matter of street lighting, maintenance of sewerage plant, care of roads and garbage disposal. This situation naturally and justly called for increasing appropriations from county taxes; and this naturally brought the Civic League into contact with the County Commissioners at Tow-son, in its annual request for budgetary appropriations for the upkeep of public conveniences for Roland Park. The County Commissioners recognized their public obligations in this respect and from year to year cooperated with the Civic League in making financial provision for a part of the cost of the necessary public facilities of lighting, maintenance of roads and contribution to the cost of garbage collection. To a considerable extent the disbursement of these county appropriations was entrusted to the supervision or management of the Civic League; and these arrangements were continued with necessarily increasing appropriations in the proportion to the increased tax basis until the city limits were extended in 1918 to include Roland Park, when the obligation in that respect was necessarily assumed by the City.

In the meantime, however, the Roland Park Roads and Maintenance Corporation had been organized. Its creation forms perhaps the most interesting feature of the local history of Roland Park, and the Civic League. It came about in this way. The maintenance tax was collected and disbursed by the Roland Park Company and the building restrictions in the deeds were enforced by the latter. After the Roland Park Company had sold off practically all of its lots in Plats 1 and 2, the resultant situation was that its chief business interest in the territory had been accomplished and it was no longer very directly and importantly interested in the maintenance tax and the building restrictions. This is not to suggest that it was unfairly administering its duties under the deeds; but nevertheless a number of individual instances occurred with respect to the disbursement of the maintenance tax and the enforcement or non-enforcement of the building restrictions which caused complaint and objection from property owners. The feeling among the property owners, expressed most articulately in various meetings of the Civic League, was that the property owners ought to have some definite representation in the administration of the proceeds of the maintenance tax and the enforcement of the building restrictions. The Civic League then took the leadership in the movement and held numerous open public meetings at which all residents and property owners of Roland Park, whether active members of the Civic League or not, were invited to participate. Out of the discussion finally came the creation of a committee of about 9 members who were instructed to confer with the Roland Park Company and evolve some practical plan for the very general demand that the property owners should be represented in the administration of the tax and restrictions. I was an active member of this committee. Mr. Bouton, representing the Roland Park Company, was very cooperative in the whole matter.

The final result was the formation of the Maintenance Corporation which took the form of an incorporated company having a nominal stock issue of, I think,'20 snares of the par value of $5 each, three-fourths of which were issued to the Civic League and one-fourth to the Roland Park Company, with further provision that the Roland Park Company should be entitled to annually elect three of the twelve directors of the Maintenance Corporation, the remaining nine to be elected by the Civic League as holder of three-fourths of the stock. Upon the formation of the Maintenance Corporation in 1909 the Roland Park Company executed a very elaborate deed to the Maintenance Corporation conveying to it all the reserved ownership of the Roland Park Company in the roads, streets and lanes of Roland Park, and assigning to the corporation the right to collect and the duty to disburse the maintenance tax and to enforce the building restrictions. In other words the Roland Park Company turned over to the Maintenance Corporation practically all of the lights that it then had in Roland Park, and under the deeds to the individual lots. In practice thereafter the Civic League for many years appointed at each annual meeting proxies to vote the stock of the Maintenance Corporation for the election of nine directors of whom two were to come from each of the several plats, and the remainder from the general territory as determined by the League. In the meantime the Civic League itself had been incorporated. Since 1909 the whole administration of the public interests of Roland Park has been in the hands of the Maintenance Corporation. It directly dealt with the County Commissioners until annexation to the City in 1918, and since then to the extent necessary, has dealt with the City. The Roland Park Civic League is, however, the ultimate authority with regard to policy making regarding the Maintenance Corporation by virtue of its majority stock control, and the Civic League has continued from time to time to function more particularly with regard to matters affecting Roland Park of a general nature which do not involve matters arising out of the maintenance tax or building restrictions.

For many years I acted as counsel for the Maintenance Corporation and for some part of the time was one of the directors; and for many years I was naturally in intimate contact with its activities. And since then from time to time I have been glad to confer with its officers in a purely advisory capacity regarding neighborhood affairs. I have no hesitation in saying that I think the interests of Roland Park have been very efficiently managed and preserved by the Maintenance Corporation which still continues to be a very vital factor in the maintenance and upkeep of the neighborhood. It is important not to underestimate the benefit which still flows to the locality from the collection and disbursement of the maintenance tax. Lawyers who may be interested in the subject will find quite a full discussion of the matter from the legal standpoint in the case in the Maryland Court of Appeals in 1923 entitled Bertha L. Wehr v. The Roland Park Company,, reported in volume 143 of the Maryland Reports, at pages 384 to 398. The opinion of the court deals of course primarily with the legal questions which were involved but a fuller account of the history of the Maintenance Corporation and its activities can be found in the printed record of the trial of the case before Judge Eli Frank. This record is, of course, available in the office of the clerk of the Court of Appeals of Maryland and can also doubtless be found in the Baltimore Bar Library in the Baltimore City Court House. It would prolong this article too greatly to enumerate all or even many of the important matters that have come before the Civic League. It is sufficient to say that they have been many and important in the affairs of the community. It is also very conservative to say that without the functioning of the Civic League, Roland Park would have been and would still now be a much less beautiful and pleasant suburb than it has been and is. It is doubtless true that the effect of annexation to the City and the extension of the zoning laws have materially decreased the number of questions for active attention by the Civic League, and, to some extent, by the Maintenance Corporation, by virtue of the natural extension of the City's administrative agencies. But this is a difference of degree only and does not in any way justify the inference that the Civic League is no longer of importance to Roland Park; quite the contrary is true. It is the only concrete body for the expression of neighborhood public opinion and should continue to function for that purpose, as well as policy making for the Maintenance Corporation.

In the past years interest in the Civic League was fostered and increased largely by an annual dinner meeting held at the Roland Park Country Club which was largely attended by the members. These annual dinners brought together not only a large percentage •of the whole membership of the League, but also included more widely residents and property owners in Roland Park generally. At these meetings there was a review by the current president of the League of its activities during the past years and of its then present problems. Generally also there was some form of pleasant after-dinner entertainment and many distinguished speakers were from time to time guests of the League. It is perhaps regrettable that somewhat changed conditions since the first world war have •resulted in the discontinuance of these annual dinners.

The Civic League has always commanded the loyalty and services of interested residents and property owners as its managing officers. In general the practice has been to elect a president to serve for one or two years only. Many well known residents of Roland Park have successively been chosen president of the League. Former Governor and Senator, the Honor-: able Philips Lee Goldsborough, was one of the earlier presidents of the League when he was at the time a resident of Roland Park.

January 1, 1947


This history of the Roland Park Civic League was prepared many years ago by Judge W. Calvin Chesnut. In our judgement it should be carefully read, by every property owner in Roland Park, and is re-printed by the Civic League for this purpose.

Judge Chesnut tells about the development of Roland Park in a most interesting way, and points out particularly what has been accomplished by the Civic League.

It seems that it is not generally known or understood that the Civic League owns controlling interest in the Roads and Maintenance Corporation and that the Roads and Maintenance Corporation is directly responsible to the Civic League.

As Judge Chesnut quite aptly says, "The Civic League is the only concrete body for the expression of neighborhood public opinion, and should continue to function for that purpose, as well as policy making for the Maintenance Corporation."

Roland Park Civic League, Inc.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Remembering Rhoda Dorsey and her work on Baltimore's Trade following the Revolution

Rhoda M. Dorsey (September 9, 1927 – May 10, 2014)

The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, 04 Nov 1967, Sat, Page 8[1]

Rhoda Dorsey is best known as the president of Goucher College. According to Wikipedia[2], Dr. Dorsey became an academic dean of Goucher in 1968. In 1973, she succeeded Marvin Banks Perry, Jr. as the acting president. The next year, she was appointed as Goucher College's eighth president, becoming the institution's first woman to serve in this position. She presided over Goucher College in 1986 when its board of trustees voted to allow men to attend the college.

Rhoda Dorsey was also a historian of commerce writing her 1956 University of Minnesota dissertation on the resumption of Anglo-American Trade after the American Revolution. [3] When she came to Baltimore to teach at Goucher she continued her interest in the resumption of trade in Baltimore, carefully reviewing the surviving port records, including investing in the National Archives microfilm of Baltimore’s customs records.

Her two published articles on Baltimore’s trade following the Revolution preface a digital edition of the port records she acquired on microfilm at her own expense which are linked here[4] as a tribute to her scholarship and her memory for others to explore.

[3] Dorsey, Rhoda Mary. The Resumption of Anglo-American Trade in New England, 1783-1794. [Ann Arbor]: University Microfilms] 1973.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

"Reconstruction" in Maryland

Reflections on Baltimore and Reconstruction, 1861-1870

Edward Papenfuse,

Maryland State Archivist, Retired

Maryland got a head start on “Reconstruction.” On April 19, 1861 the Baltimore mob assaulted the 6th Massachusetts Volunteers on their way to defend Washington and within a short time the city would be occupied by Union troops for the duration of a bloody Civil War in which there were at least 750,000 casualties. The best contemporary account of the confrontation and its consequences is by the Mayor, George William Brown, who with many of his city council, and his chief of Police, George Proctor Kane, were placed under military arrest and sent to prison first at Fort McHenry and the Fort Warren in Boston Harbor, without ever having the benefit of a court hearing or a trial.[1] Some would argue that because this suspension of Habeas Corpus (a writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person's release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention) was first implemented by executive order of the President without Congressional approval, was an abuse of power. Even the Chief Justice of the United States ruled that the actions of the military were unconstitutional until Congress was persuaded to pass a law upholding the President’s action. By that time Mayor Brown and Marshall Kane were confined and an effective campaign of suppressing Southern support in the City was well underway. Those who expressed Union Sympathies were permitted to take economic and political control of the City, raising the hopes and expectations of the Black population of over 27,000 in the fourth largest city in America with a total population of 212, 418.[2] Fortunately for Baltimore and the Nation, this minority had struggled for years to establish its right to economic success and educational freedom through its private schools (mostly church based) and becoming the essential provider of laundry, barbering, caulking, catering and carting services, as well as the labor that extracted the city’s waste (the night soilers), and cared for the children of the wealthy. Most of the majority would have preferred that it remain that way without any further advancement, but the Black community did not see it that way and voiced its cry for publicly funded education and expansion of their civil rights. When it became clear by the fall of 1863 that the Union could not win the war against the South without the military assistance of the Black population, the door to constitutional reform opened. In Maryland a new State Constitution abolished slavery and provided the framework for public funding of Black education, while Congress under the leadership of Thadeus Stevens and Charles Sumner passed the trio of Amendments to the Constition that offered a legal and moral platform for the advancement of Civil Rights for all Americans.

As Professor Eric Foner has pointed out recently, Baltimore was a crucial intellectual center of the effort to advocate the full implementation of the intent of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. It would be a long and tortuous struggle which many believe is not over.[3]

Historians have debated the causes of the Civil War at great length, but if Slavery was not the sole reason for the conflict, addressing the questions of the rights and the place of the black population in the life of the Republic was certainly the consequence. From March of 1865 until its dissolution in 1872 the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (Freemen’s Bureau), attempted with varying degrees of success to reconstruct the intellectual and political life of the residents of the former slave states, including those border states like Maryland that had been controlled by the military and where, after 1863, significant numbers of Black men were inducted into the United States Colored Troops. While its work in the rebelling states is well known, the contributions to the reconstruction of Baltimore are less well documented. In the city material supplies were provided to at least one orphanage for the support of orphans of Black soldiers, and the establishment of the Freedman’s bank.[4]

In Maryland nearly 8000 men joined 6 regiments of United States Colored Troops.[5] Those that survived the war and returned home, became an important component of the political pressure for educational and economic reconstruction as well as providing, with their pensions, the first Federally funded social security for their families.[6]

Unidentified soldier and family, discovered in Cecil County, MD. Photo from the Library of Congress.

To better understand the nature and extent of reconstruction policies in Maryland, Dennis Halpin provides an accurate and insightful narrative. As one favorable review explained:

In A Brotherhood of Liberty, Dennis Patrick Halpin shifts the focus of the black freedom struggle from the Deep South to argue that Baltimore is key to understanding the trajectory of civil rights in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the 1870s and early 1880s, a dynamic group of black political leaders migrated to Baltimore from rural Virginia and Maryland. These activists, mostly former slaves who subsequently trained in the ministry, pushed Baltimore to fulfill Reconstruction's promise of racial equality. In doing so, they were part of a larger effort among African Americans to create new forms of black politics by founding churches, starting businesses, establishing community centers, and creating newspapers. Black Baltimoreans successfully challenged Jim Crow regulations on public transit, in the courts, in the voting booth, and on the streets of residential neighborhoods. They formed some of the nation's earliest civil rights organizations, including the United Mutual Brotherhood of Liberty, to define their own freedom in the period after the Civil War.

Halpin shows how black Baltimoreans' successes prompted segregationists to reformulate their tactics. He examines how segregationists countered activists' victories by using Progressive Era concerns over urban order and corruption to criminalize and disenfranchise African Americans. Indeed, he argues the Progressive Era was crucial in establishing the racialized carceral [relating to, or suggesting a jail or prison] state of the twentieth-century United States. Tracing the civil rights victories scored by black Baltimoreans that inspired activists throughout the nation and subsequent generations, A Brotherhood of Liberty highlights the strategies that can continue to be useful today, as well as the challenges that may be faced.[7]

His work was preceded by two books which also help to illuminate the story of Reconstruction in Maryland, Richard Paul Fuke’s Imperfect Equality (1999), and Barbara Jeanne Fields, Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground (1985).

Privately owned

In the heat of the debates over Reconstruction and prior to the adoption of the 14th Amendment which he felt was not strong enough, Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, one of the principal advocates of reconstruction, deposited an 1860 pamphlet in the library of his alma mater, Harvard College. It was the printed version of a speech by Delegate Curtis M. Jacobs (d. 1884) from Worcester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, in which Jacobs argued that all the free blacks in Maryland (nearly 84,000 of whom nearly 28,000 lived in Baltimore City) should be rounded up and sent off to Africa, thus removing the greatest threat to his revered institution of slavery. While Jacob’s proposed legislation was defeated in part by the lobbying in Annapolis by Free Blacks, the substance of his racist assumptions about the inferiority of the Black Population and the need to keep it in its place subservient to the servile needs of the rest of the population is telling and indicative of the pervasive opposition to the effective implementation of the 14th and 15th Amendment that would continue to confront the Black population well into the 20th century.[8]

In the 1880s, as the Halpin and Foner books make clear, the Black Community under the leadership of Reverend Harvey Johnson realized that a major path to success in the cause of Civil Rights would be the creation of a Black legal community that would carry the fight to the Courts. In the face of returning Southern and slavery sympathizers to power in Maryland (in 1877 Marshall Kane, who had worked in Richmond for the Confederacy after being paroled from Fort Warren, was elected Mayor of Baltimore City and the State General Assembly refused to ratify the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution in 1867 and 1870 respectively).[9]

May of 2020 will be the 150th anniversary of the largest celebration in the country of the passage of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution granting Black men the right to vote. On that occasion and also in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment that extended that right to women, Baltimore is planning a joint celebration.[10]

courtesy of the Library of Congress:

The Baltimore Parade was the largest parade in support of Civil Rights in the United States until the 1960s. Its story is ably documented in a web site created in 1996 by David Troy, then a student at Johns Hopkins University. It follows the reporting of the Parade detailing the route and the participants, and provides an analysis of the speech of the principal speaker, Frederick Douglass, which appeared as two slightly different accounts in the Sun and the American.[11]

David Troy based his analysis in part on a document packet for the use of teachers which was published on the Maryland State Archives website in 1996 and revised in 1998.[12]

Initially Frederick Douglass was to give his remarks from a stand built in front of the Battle Monument on Calvert Street, but when he started to mount the steps the stand collapsed. He brushed himself off, commented that it must have been built by a Democrat, and moved to the Balcony of the Gilmore house. A stereo view has survived of the large crowd (numbering as much 20,000 people) intently watching the speeches from the Balcony.


Douglass’s speech was apparently given without notes. The Reporter for the Sun which generally supported the Democrats and their return to power, provided this account of Douglass’s remarks:

As reported in the Baltimore Sun.


Frederick Douglass was introduced by Dr. Brown as the champion of liberty the first of American Orators and a son of Maryland. He is a resident of New York but he ought to be with them and work with them and they intended to have him back with them.

Mr. Douglass said he had often appeared before the American people as a slave and sometimes as a fugitive slave, but always as an advocate for the slave. To him this day was the day of all days. He was permitted to appear before them in the more dignified, the more elevated character of an American citizen. Thirty five years ago it was his lot to be a slave in Talbot county working side by side with slaves on a plantation. He remembered that he always looked forward with yearning to the time when Maryland should not contain a slave. Uneducated as he was he knew enough of logic of events, of the sense right and wrong that the day would come when not a chain should clank nor fetter gall, nor whip crack over a slave. The change is amazing, when he remembers how slavery was interwoven with everything civil, political social and ecclesiastical in this State. He remembers that he and his fellow slaves desired to talk about emancipation, but were prevented by the presence of the overseer. They invented a vocabulary of their own so that they would not be understood as saying anything but the most harmless things. They were talking of liberty, in fact they were the original abolitionists. The old aunty would ask a slave, "Sonny do you see anything of the pig's foot coming?" That was the way we talked about emancipation To-day we have but two of three chief things. The first thing the negro got was the cartridge box, next was the ballot-box. Some of our friends who now advocate it hardly saw it three years ago, but at last they were convinced. The next box, without which the cartridge-box and ballot-box is insufficient, is the jury box. We are in a country which, while the negro hating element sits in the jury box the negro is not protected. We want the jury box for ourselves and our white follow-citizens, for no one is hurt by justice. He then explained the purport of the fifteenth amendment, and said that here- after the black man will have no excuse, as formerly, for ignorance, or poverty or destitution. The fifteenth amendment has deprived them of all the apologies and excuses which formerly existed. We must stand up and be responsible to our fellow-citizens as independent men. We are to instruct ourselves as to men and measures and take nobody or thing on trust. Mr. Douglass asked them if they remembered which party emancipated them? [There were responses of "The republican party," and several persons responded "The democratic," which occasioned some amusement.] Mr. Douglass continued. The democratic party is the old party that for forty years stood between themselves and liberty.

He pleaded guilty to the charge of running away from Maryland but it was not from Maryland he ran away. He loved Maryland, its waters, its fertile fields in Talbot county its fishing grounds and everything in it except slavery. It was slavery he ran away from He felt a little mean about it to go away with out bidding them good bye. The truth was he was afraid aid to bid them good bye for fear they would not let him go. He had some religious scruples also. He used to pray that God would release him from slavery but God did not begin to hear his prayers until he began to run.

Forty years ago he saw Austin Woolfolk on horseback, with about forty negroes he was going to ship to the South. That made him hate slavery. When he went North he resolved that any power he possessed should be devoted to the abolition of slavery and the enfranchisement of his race, and he has endeavored to perform faith fully his pledge, and whatever that remains to him of life shall go in the same direction. They were not indebted to Maryland for their liberty, but to the United States. Will you be as good masters to yourselves as your old masters were? Will you get up as early in the morning? Will you work as hard for yourselves as you did for your masters? Will you dream as well and be as sober and as temperate?

Some people say the negroes will die out. He replies to them that if two hundred and fifty years of slavery could not kill them, liberty can not. It is argued against us that we are incapable of educating our minds. We have got the cartridge box and the ballot box but the knowledge box is wanting. Are you going to educate your sons and daughters? We want our children to do better than we do and have done. The Baltimore that he knew fifty years ago was a two-story Baltimore, now it is a five story Baltimore. We want our children to add a story to their height every generation.

Mr. Douglass said he was no orator or great champion of liberty as announced. It was only because it was unusual to hear a black man talk that they called him so. No one knew better than he that it was not so. But he did not "let on." He don't mind telling them so now. The orators that are to come after us in this country will do great things. We have now a future and everything is possible - now we have a future. You will never, any of you, be an independent voter in your life, until you get some money in your pocket. A colored man was once advised to "vote where he could get his potatoes." Colored men like other men are apt to be grateful and men will court you on the score of interest.

The Baltimore American, which generally supported the Republican Party reported Douglass’s remarks slightly differently:

As reported in the Baltimore American.


Mr. Creswell's speech, which was repeatedly cheered, was followed by music from the band. Frederick Douglass Esq, was then introduced by Dr. Brown, who spoke of him as a son of Maryland who should now be working among us, and he believed he soon would be.

Mr. Douglass said that during the last thirty years he had often appeared before the people as a slave, sometimes as a fugitive slave, but always in behalf of the slave. But to-day he was permitted to appear before them as an American citizen. How grea t the change. Thirty five years ago he was working as a slave in Talbot county, and looked forward even then that there would some time come a day when not a fetter should clank or a whip crack over the backs of his fellow men. That day has come at last. When we remember how slavery was interlinked with all our institutions, it is amazing that today we witness this demonstration. When toiling on the plantation we slaves desired to talk of emancipation, but there stood the overseer and a word would ensure a flogging. To talk about emancipation without being discovered we invented a vocabulary, and when the over seer thought we were talking of the most simple thing we were really speaking of emancipation, but in a way that was Greek to them. [Laughter and a pplause.] The negro has now got the three belongings of American freedom. First the cartridge box, for when he got the eagle on his button and the musket on his shoulder he was free. Next came the ballot box, some of its most earnest advocates now hardly saw it three years ago, but we'll forgive them now. Next we want the jury box. [Applause.] While the negro-hating element sits in the jury box the colored man's welfare is insecure and we demand that he be represented in the halls of justice. Nobody will be injured by justice. The Fifteenth Amendment means that hereafter the black man is to have no excuse for ignorance, poverty or destitution. Our excuse for such in the past is swept away from us by the Fifteenth Amendment. We are to stand up and be resp onsible for our own existence, we must be independent men and citizens - we are to know our friends and equally to know our enemies and take none in trust. When a friend performs a good act or an enemy a malicious act towards us are we not to remember the m? [Cries of "Yes!"] I love my friends and remember my enemies. I remember that party that for forty years has been endeavoring to enslave us and crush us and I want you to remember that party at the ballot box. [Applause.] What party is that? [Cries of " Democratic!"] Do you remember the party that, when the Democrats endeavored to overthrow the Government, stepped between the Government and its blows? Then let us give three cheers for the Republican party! [Enthusiastic Cheers.] I see you are all right h ere, and I am not afraid to have election day come around. [Applause.] I loved everything of Maryland except slavery -- it was that I ran away from thirty two years ago. I felt a little mean however, and only did not stop to tell them goodbye because I wa s afraid they would not let me go. I found that God never began to hear my prayers for liberty until I began to run. Then you ought to have seen the dust rise behind me in answer to prayer. [Applause.]

Forty years ago I sat on Kennard's wharf, at the foot of Philpot street and I saw men and women chained and put on ship to go to New Orleans. I then resolved that whatever power I had should be devoted to the freeing of my race. For thirty years in the midst of all opposition, I have endeavored to fulfil my pledge. I am here today to pledge myself that whatever remains to me of life shall go in the same direction. Possibly I ought to be in Maryland, but the time has come when the black man owes nothing to States. You are not indebted to Maryland for the fra nchise. The old ideas of State sovereignty have been abolished by the war. We have now a common country and a common legislature - there are no States but the United States. All that any man can ask of another is that he do his best for the whole country. Will you be as good masters to yourselves as your masters were to you? [Cries of better!] Will you work as hard for yourselves as you did for your masters? [Cries of yes!] Will you be as sober and temperate now as you were before? [Renewed cries of yes!] I believe you but some affect not to. They believe that you will die out like the Indian, that you cannot exist in competition with the white men. Well if two centuries and a half of slavery, the whip, prisons, and the abolition of the marriage relation could not kill you then liberty will not. [Applause.] Educate your sons and daughters, send them to school and show that besides the cartridge box, the ballot box, and the jury box, you have also the knowledge box. Build on for those who come after you. I am no orator. The orators who are to come up in the hereafter from the colored race will throw me and Langston far into the background. We have a future, everything is possible to us. Get education and get money in your pocket, and save it, for without it you will never be an independent voter.[13]

Douglass’s exhortation to “get education and get money in your pocket” was in fact the clarion call of Reconstruction in Maryland in the face of mounting opposition and two devastating economic downturns in the 1870s and 1890s that imperiled the ability of all but the richest Americans to get money in their pockets. From the earliest years of the 19th Century to the Civil War, the Free Black Community had been arming itself through its private schools and the opportunities it was permitted to exploit for a day of Reconstruction. Some of its leaders left in despair to seek their fortunes and intellectual freedom in California (Darius Stokes) and Canada (the parents of Harvey Johnson’s wife). Others like Douglass, who escaped as a slave from Baltimore in 1838, fought the good fight by raising monetary support from Ireland, Scotland, and England. Douglass returned freed with what he had raised abroad to found the leading black newspaper in Rochester New York.[14]

Hiram Revels (1827-1901)

Reverend Hiram Revels left his Baltimore congregation ultimately to become the first Black member of Congress under Reconstruction, but while in Baltimore he and his brother led African American Churches and participated in the Recruitment of Black soldiers.[15] As one biography put it: with regard to Revel’s appearance in the Senate:

Hiram Rhodes Revels was the first African American to serve in the U.S. Congress. With his moderate political orientation and oratorical skills honed from years as a preacher, Revels filled a vacant seat in the United States Senate in 1870. Just before the Senate agreed to admit a black man to its ranks on February 25, [1867] Republican Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts sized up the importance of the moment: “All men are created equal, says the great Declaration,” Sumner roared, “and now a great act attests this verity. Today we make the Declaration a reality…. The Declaration was only half established by Independence. The greatest duty remained behind. In assuring the equal rights of all we complete the work.”[16]

Those that stayed behind in Baltimore to nurture and lead the community despite the rising tide of constriction and suppression that seemed to be the hallmark of the decade before the arrival of the Federal Troops to Baltimore, are not as well known as Darius Stokes and Hiram Revels, and their stories deserve to be told. Almost totally overlooked is the role of women in sustaining and advancing the cause of the Black Community before, during and after the Civil War. For example the life of artists and laundresses such as Charity Goviens stands as a symbol of the talent and hard work of Black Women, generally laundresses, seamstresses, and teachers.[17]

Another example is Samuel Ward Chase, one of the premier teachers and advocates for public support of Black education on an equal footing with white schools[18] In 1864 Reverend Chase would meet with Lincoln to present him with a bible for which the funds had been raised among the Baltimore Black community (over 600 individual donors) and two years before he would speak eloquently at the Israel Baptist Church in Washington D. C. His remarks as reported in the press are well worth repeating as both the voice of the Black Community of Reconstruction Baltimore, and as a plea for washing away the sins of racism that pervaded American Society and still haunt America today:

God's dealings with the children of Ham, and their future prospects," was the topic of a lecture delivered last night in the Israel (colored) church, by Rev Samuel Chase , a colored divine of Baltimore. The speaker went back to the earliest ages, quoted largely from Bible history, and maintained that God made of one flesh all the nations of the earth. But nations, for crimes committed, have been degraded, and fallen from the high estate wherein the Creator had placed them; as in the case of the Jews, who were despised until a few years ago. The speaker argued that it was the providence of God that brought the negro here, and the colored race has been benefited thereby. The colored race here have been educated like the American family; have imbibed their political principles, but do not dare to utter them; have imbibed the same religious principles, and them they dare utter; and if the religion of the black man is wild enthusiasm, then so is that of those who taught him.

The speaker argued that the negro had the same natural faculties as the whites, and quoted examples to show that the pure, unadulterated African may become educated and respected. The black man, beyond doubt, has the same natural qualities from Mason's to Dixon's line, and from that to Sabine.

He argued that the Legislature of Maryland believed in the quality of natural intelligence, or they never would have desired to get the blacks out of the country by spending $10,00 a year for colonization.

We must elevate the negro character, and that must be done by education. The pulpit is the highest position we can attain, and we must blame our white brethren for not having a more educated ministry. The Methodist Episcopal Church (white) had been particularly backward in extending education to the colored. They told us that if the Lord called us to preach, he would put words in our mouths, ad we were told to look only to Heaven and get knowledge, while the white preachers were looking all the time in the book. The speaker did not "see the point" that an uneducated negro could draw inspiration direct from Heaven, while educated white men get it from the books.

Mr. Chase urged the necessity of an educated ministry for the colored people. "I am," said he, "a black man, and I want to see the blacks educated. I love all men, but I love the black man best, and will advance his interests first and all the time. If any colored man won't endorse this, the sooner he makes peace with God and dies, the better for him and his people." The negro could and would rise, if properly educated, and they had as much right to do so as the whites. The speaker said it would cheer his heart as much as that of the white man to see his son pleading at the bar, or his daughter taking a seat to play on the forty piany.

In conclusion, his audience were urged to liberally educate and sustain their ministers, as the surest mode of bringing the colored nation to a position of equality with the whites.[19]

[2] From 1860 through 1930 the Black population of Baltimore remained fairly constant between13.1% and 14.8% with a peak of 16.2% in 1880.

[4] see Patrick Whang, "A Model Branch: The Freedman's Bank in Baltimore", an as yet unpublished paper , but available from the auithor. Patrick Whang is a Doctoral Student in Historical Studies at University of Cape Town, South Africa.

[5] L. Allison Wilmer, J. H. Jarrett and Geo. W. F. Vernon, History and Roster of Maryland Volunteers, War of 1861-5, Volume 2. (Baltimore: Guggenheimer, Weil, & Co., 1899). L20937-2,

[6] to date, no one has examined the extent to which Civil War Soldier and Widows pensions helped support the Black Community in Maryland, and particularly Baltimore where many of the aging population of Black veterans came to reside. By 1890 there were 483 USCT veterans living in Baltimore. See:

[9] Ratification by Maryland of the 14th Amendment took place finally on April 4, 1959[29] (after rejection – March 23, 1867), while the 15th Amendment granting Black men the right to vote was not ratified until May 7, 1973 (After rejection: February 4/26, 1870).

[19]THE CHRISTIAN RECORDER, May 31, 1862, WASHINGTON, MAY 26, 1862, text provided by