To Honor African-American Suffragists,
Maryland Women’s Heritage Center Will Dedicate
A Highway Marker on Druid Hill Avenue in Baltimore
November 23, 11am – 1pm, Dedication Program and Marker Unveiling
BALTIMORE (November 10, 2019) — To commemorate the role of Baltimore’s African-American community in the historic national struggle to gain voting rights for women, the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center will dedicate a marker on Druid Hill Avenue on November 23 at the site of the former homes of activists Augusta T. Chissell and Margaret Gregory Hawkins.
Next-door neighbors Chissell and Hawkins, along with activist Estelle Young and others, advanced the civil rights of women in the rising African-American middle class of West Baltimore during the early 20th century. At a time when African-American suffragists were frequently excluded from the predominantly white suffrage movement, and community empowerment was hindered by Jim Crow laws, the women were leaders and organizers in the Baltimore-based Progressive Women’s Suffrage Club, the DuBois Circle, and other African-American women’s groups.
The dedication on Saturday, November 23, 2019, will begin at 11a.m. with a program at Union Baptist Church, 1219 Druid Hill Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21217, and will continue with participants traveling to 1532 and 1534 Druid Hill Avenue for the unveiling of the highway marker. Chissell held meetings in her home supporting the passage of the 19th Amendment. After women gained the right to vote in 1920, Chissell wrote a recurring column, “A Primer for Women Voters,” published in the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper, which is the media partner for the dedication. Kacy Rohn, who spent a year researching the suffrage movement for the Maryland Historical Trust, identified the site. Contributors to documentation of the women’s roles include Ida Jones, Ph.D., the university archivist at Morgan State University, who will speak during the dedication, and historian Diane Weaver, Ph.D.
The Druid Hill Avenue marker is one of 11 installed or in planning stages that identify and highlight Maryland women, events, and sites associated with the suffrage movement. Five markers have been sponsored by the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center and funded by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, in conjunction with the state’s 19th Amendment centennial celebration. The Druid Hill Avenue highway marker will be the first installed in Baltimore in this project. Additional sites are being researched by a team of local volunteers and scholars.
The markers expand Maryland’s footprint on the National Votes for Women Trail, an effort organized by the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites to highlight stories of women at the grassroots level of the suffrage movement state by state.
“Many people are familiar with the names of a few national luminaries of women’s suffrage, such as Susan B. Anthony, but fresh scholarship and volunteer efforts continue now to document the stories of local suffragist leaders and activists, including the stories of women who persisted despite facing discrimination from some of their white counterparts in the movement,” said Diana M. Bailey, executive director of the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center. “Many people do not know that Baltimore was a major center of suffrage activism, host to national suffrage meetings and leaders, and the home of several suffrage clubs that sent representatives to the ends of the state, to the state legislature in Annapolis, and to Washington to organize support for the 19th Amendment. Our mission is to unearth and preserve these stories of Marylanders and the lessons and legacy they left for us as voters today.”
Dedication partners include The National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites, the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, the state Commission on the Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper.
Maryland markers on the National Votes for Women Trail:
- Westminster, Carroll County: Just Government League*
- Still Pond, Kent County: Maryland’s First Women Voters*
- Lexington Park, St. Mary’s County: Margaret Brent Pilgrimage*
- Hyattsville, Prince George’s County: Suffrage Motorcade*
- Overlea, Baltimore County: Women’s Suffrage*
- Garrett County: The Garrett County Pilgrimage*
- Baltimore: Augusta T. Chissell and Margaret Gregory Hawkins homes**
- Baltimore County: Goucher College (Dedication February 28, 2020) **
- To be determined**
- To be determined**
- To be determined**
*Maryland State Highway Department, Maryland Historical Trust, Commission on the Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
**Maryland Women’s Heritage Center, William G. Pomeroy Foundation
Diana M. Bailey, Executive Director, Maryland Women’s Heritage Center
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 443-996-1788
About the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center
The Maryland Women’s Heritage Center (MWHC) was established to preserve the past, understand the present, and shape the future by recognizing, respecting, and transmitting the experiences and contributions of Maryland women of diverse backgrounds and from all regions of the state. The Center’s goal is to add “HERstory to history to tell OUR story.” It is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and non-partisan organization. The Center is an outgrowth of the Maryland Women’s History Project that began in 1980 as a collaborative venture between the Maryland Commission for Women and the Maryland State Department of Education. The first comprehensive state center of its kind in the country, the Center honors Maryland’s historical and contemporary renowned women and girls who have been inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, as well as the Unsung Heroines who have shaped their families and communities. Contact the Center to learn more about its programs and traveling exhibits. www.mdwomensheritagecenter.org
About the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites (NCWHS)
The National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites (NCWHS) is a non-profit organization established to support and promote the preservation and interpretation of sites and locales that bear witness to women’s participation in American history. NCWHS is dedicated to making women’s contributions to history visible so all women’s experiences and potential are fully valued. Visit: www.ncwhs.org.
About the William G. Pomeroy Foundation
The William G. Pomeroy Foundation is a private foundation established in 2005. The Foundation is committed to supporting the celebration and preservation of community history; and to raising awareness, supporting research and improving the quality of care for patients and their families who are facing a blood cancer diagnosis. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than 875 grants for historic signage in New York State and beyond. Visit: www.wgpfoundation.org.
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