HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM)– The choral rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” helped kick off the blessing ceremony for the Doleman Black Heritage Museum (DBHM).
“That’s an African American process where we bless the buildings and bless things we are involved in,” said Herman “Skip” Davis, president of the DBHM.
The ceremony was special because earlier in the day the Doleman Black Heritage Museum acquired the former Coca Cola bottling plant on Pennsylvania Avenue. This process took 11 years.
“The museum started this process in 2008, and as you know, there was difficulty procuring the building at that time. It’s 2019 and the Doleman Black Heritage Museum officially owns the building,” said Alesia Parson- McBean, projects director for the DBHM.
Officials with the Doleman Black Heritage Museum were happy to place the museum right here in the Jonathan Street Neighborhood to keep the history of the African American community alive.
The museum was founded in 1974 and features nearly 4,500 black history artifacts.
“It’s about the Jonathan Street community. It’s about the lifestyles and the heritage as well as the contribution of local African Americans to our culture,” said Parson- McBean.
The museum was able to acquire the building thanks to the city of Hagerstown. The city worked with the museum to establish a provisional acquisition funding loan agreement for $108,000.
“It definitely took buy-in from the largesse of the community. It took having a local government to say yes we value this,” said Parson- McBean.
Now that the museum has a permanent home, their next step is to rehabilitate the building.
The Doleman Black Heritage Museum held the blessing ceremony on Tuesday in honor of Juneteenth.