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MEDIA ADVISORY: Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture, Nation’s First Ethnic Commission, Hosts 50th Anniversary and Recognizes Milestones in Black History

Governor Hogan, Commission Partner for African American Heritage Preservation Program to Distribute Annual Capital Grants and Honor Late Senator Elijah Cummings 

WHAT: The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture (MCAAHC) will celebrate its 50th anniversary during the “We Rise!” Gala at the Banneker-Douglass Museum (BDM) with more than 200 guests in attendance including community leaders, elected officials, educators, members of the BDM Foundation Inc., and the Friends of the BDM. This year also marks the 35th anniversary of BDM. The Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives will present a Governor’s citation to the commission. 

The attendees will have a moment of silence for and poetic tribute to the late Senator Elijah Cumming  and the event will welcome the newly elected leadership and members of the commission: Chair Reverend Dr. Tamara England Wilson; Vice Chair Mr. H. Russell Frisby, Jr., Esq.; the Honorable Kweisi Mfume, a former state congressman; and Mr. Anthony J. Spencer, the great-great-grandson of James Spencer who founded Freetown in Anne Arundel County. 

The celebration will be concluded with the We Rise Award presentations to Reverend Dr. Frances “Toni” Draper, Treasurer of the Board of Afro-American Newspapers; Devin Allen, Founder of Through Their Eyes; and DeWayne Wickham, Founding Dean of the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University. 

The Hogan-Rutherford administration annually provides one million dollars in capital grants for the African American Heritage Preservation program through a partnership between the commission and the Maryland Historical Trust to preserve buildings, communities, and sites of historic and cultural importance to the African American experience in Maryland. In 2019, the commission awarded grants to 10 sites and buildings. 

Earlier in this 50th anniversary year, Governor Hogan announced the Year of Frederick Douglass and named September as International Underground Railroad Month to honor Harriet Tubman. The commission has executed new projects and events, which have engaged hundreds of community members and more than 9,000 visitors to the museum.

To purchase tickets, please visit:

WHO: Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture
WHEN: Saturday, November 2, 2019
6:00 p.m. -11:00 p.m.
7:00 p.m.: Presentation of Governor’s Citation
8:00 p.m.: Poetic Tribute to the Late Senator Elijah Cummings and Presentation of Awards
WHERE: Banneker-Douglass Museum
84 Franklin Street
Annapolis, Md.


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