African-American History & Culture
Culture shapes lives.
“There were no African Americans before the Transatlantic Slave Trade. A new culture emerged out of the trauma of that history and through traditions made and remade on new shores. This self-creation is everywhere in the day-to- day lives of African Americans. It’s in the food eaten, the languages spoken, the art created, and many other forms of cultural expression. Held within and passed through families and communities, African American culture reflects beliefs, informs behavior, fosters creativity, and most of all, sustains the spirit during times of overwhelming adversity.”
The Historic Landscape of Caroline CountyWe identified historic black schools in the Choptank River Heritage area, primarily by georeferencing the 1875 Isler and 1897 Saulsbury maps of Caroline County. In the map shown on this page, use the toggle at the upper left to...
We are honored that the William Still Family Interpretive Center has been accepted as a U.S. National Park Service Network to Freedom historic site.Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony was Monday, May 23, 2022 The William Still Family Interpretive Center and Historic Site Caroline...
Bethel School was active before 1890 when it discontinued, and the Smithville farm alliance used the (original) building. Identification and location are based on Denton Journal info about Houston’s Branch School moved for Bethel School in 1927 and likely associated with Bethel Church.
Through 90 years of racial segregation and funding disparity, black schools in Caroline County were sacred ground in the fight for literacy, democracy, and civil rights.
Eight are still there.
Stand in the Place.
The school building is adjacent to Union AME Church, which has maintained and used it for church activities and storage. Union Colored School was listed in school board announcements at least between 1896 and 1928.
It might be too late to visit this sacred site. Aerial imagery (2017) indicates that the building described by the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT CAR-159) has been significantly modified or removed and replaced.
Jonestown School does not appear on the 1875 or 1897 maps of Caroline County. Black students from this area probably attended nearby Johns Colored School before the Jonestown School was built. The location of Jonestown School on Harmony Road (MD Route 16) is verified in oral history published by Coppin AME Church (formerly Jones Chapel).