DICKERSON, Md. (WDVM) — The Hogan Administration has funded nearly $1 million toward African American historic sites in the state. The funds will go to restoring sites like the Warren Historic Site in Montgomery County, which is believed to be the last in Maryland to retain all three of its traditional buildings.
An old church on the Warren Historic Site in Montgomery County was built back in 1903. Along with the church is a community hall, and the Martinsburg Negro School that was built in 1886. Thanks to several grants, they’re able to keep the history going. Warren Historic Site Committee President, Elsie Thomas stated, “I was born and raised in this community. I joined this church many, many, many years ago.”
Thomas has strong historic ties to the area. In the 50s, she went to Carver High School, the only public Black school in the county. She’s still a resident in Dickerson and a member of the church, which currently has 10 members, and still has work to be done. Luckily, the site received $100,000 from the Hogan Administration for new roofs, walls and an overall better foundation.
“Most of the members of this church and community have passed on, and I’m the only one left here, and I seek help from people that I know can help me; and the secretary and Ms. Rogers, they always point me to the right direction,” Thomas said. Heritage Montgomery Executive Director, Sarah Rogers stated, “They have been neglected for many years, and it’s time that we lift this up and we learn this valuable history.”
In the 1900s, there were about 40 African-American settlements in the county, and a lot has changed since then. The plan is to preserve this site for people to visit. “The idea, to me, that one day a person is enslaved, and the next day they are building a community, is just beyond,” Rogers said.
The Martinsburg Negro School started with about 50 students from grades 1st to 5th. The Hogan Administration also funded Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Allegany County and the Robert W. Johnson Community Center in Washington County.