African American History of Annapolis Walking Tour
This short walking tour includes a half-dozen monuments, markers, and museums related to African American history in Maryland's capital city.
In a time when African Americans demonstrated the demand for their Civil Rights- protests, riots, and sit-ins were prevalent. Among these demonstrations, a sit-in in Annapolis, Maryland exposes the pure dedication of Civil Rights advocates; one of which was Marita Carroll. The hopeful revolt at a local restaurant in downtown “Naptown” transpired on November 11, 1960; during a time when African Americans were steadfast in conquering inequality. In commemoration of this archival moment as well as the faithful people associated, a plaque is arranged at 126 West Street where the Terminal Restaurant used to be.
Asbury United Methodist dates back to 1803, when seven free African Americans purchased land from Smith Price. This group attracted other people of faith who worshiped in a small wooden building until, 1838 when the congregation built their first brick church. That modest structure was later was replaced with a three-story brick church in 1880’s. The historic church is working to create a small museum to include exhibits of significant artifacts, documents, and photographs.
The Banneker-Douglass Museum, formerly known as the Mt. Moriah African Methodist Episcopal Church, was originally built in 1875 and then renovated and officially completed on February 24, 1984. “The Victorian-Gothic structure was included in the Annapolis Historic District in 1971 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.” The museum just celebrated 30 years of operation back in February of this year; it is a must-see museum filled with historical and prestigious displays. In honor of Benjamin Banneker and Frederick Douglass, the museum also exhibits the lives of other famous Maryland residents who devoted their time to the advocacy of anti-slavery and racism.
Located at the courtyard of the Maryland State House from 1872 until 2017 the Roger Taney Monument commemorated Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney. A controversial figure in American history, Taney is best known for authoring the majority opinion on Dred Scott vs. Sandford (1857), known as the Dred Scott decision--asserting that black people, whether slave or free, could not be United States citizens. Taney also claimed that the Missouri Compromise, which restricted the expansion of slavery, was unconstitutional because in his opinion, it violated the property rights of slave owners to take the human beings they owned under the system of chattel slavery into northern states the same as they might any other piece of property. The statue of Taney was removed in August 2017. According to Maryland governor Larry Hogan's statement, "the time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history."
The Thurgood Marshall Memorial Statue, erected in 1996 by the state of Maryland, was commissioned by Governor Parris Glendening and sculptured by Maryland sculptor Antonio Tobias Mendez. Mendez was one of several artists who took part in a national design competition put together by the state of Maryland (his winning design is included below). The statue stands as a tribute to the great civil rights leader and jurist, one of the 20th century’s most noted advocates for equal rights under the law. The statue is situated in State House Square, a square that was named to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Court of Appeals of Maryland. Within the square is a chronology of the important events in Marshall’s remarkable life.
The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial in Annapolis commemorates the place of arrival of esteemed author Alex Haley’s ancestor, Kunta Kinte. The memorial includes plaques that line the sidewalks for visitors to interact with and stands as the only memorial in the United States that commemorates the point of arrival of an enslaved African. The memorial was commissioned by the mayor of Annapolis, Richard Hillman in 1981. This occurred shortly after Haley’s critically acclaimed novel, Roots opened the eyes of people around the world to the role the city of Annapolis played in the story of the slave trade.