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Inspiring African American Men of Calvert County

Calvert Library writes local history

       In Calvert County, the public library has gone beyond collecting books to creating them. For Women’s History Month last March, the library sponsored Inspiring Black Women of Calvert County. This year men take the stage as subjects of a new local history book, Inspiring African American Men of Calvert County.

      “When we joined the Big Conversation on Dismantling Racism last year,” says Robyn Truslow, library spokeswoman and project instigator, “I heard loud and clear from the community that a men’s book was needed.”

      With Darlene Harrod, who did much of the research and writing on the women’s book, 39 men were chosen.
        “Through suggestions from the community, the historical society and personal knowledge, we selected men of varying ages from varying times in Calvert’s history,” Truslow said.
       Harrod cajoled each nominee, collecting editing and sometimes writing their biographies to fit the format of a short two-page spread. Shirley Knight edited and rewrote.
       “From former slave Charles Ball in 1781 to modern war heroes, civil rights reporters, pastors, business owners, school bus drivers, educators and IT professionals, these are the men who have scorned the path of least resistance,” said Twin Beaches librarian Lynn Harlan. “Rising above racism and hypocrisy, these trailblazers inspire others to take up the mantle of kindness through good works and civility.”
      Images come from a wide variety of sources. “Some I took myself, and others were tracked down by collaborator Kirsti Uunila, the county’s historic preservation planner,” Truslow says. “Some were photos people had, and a couple were from old newspaper articles.”
      Blank pages at the end encourage readers to become modern day historians by writing down their own stories of inspiring citizens of Calvert County.
      Friends of Calvert Library paid for the publication so copies could be donated to each school in the county and each of the honorees. You can read the compilation online or get a copy at all Calvert library branches for checkout or purchase ($5).
       Calvert’s support of local history-telling doesn’t stop with these inspiring men and women. 
      “My dream,” says Truslow, “is that families and individuals would be inspired to start documenting their stories — whether by writing, video or audio — and eventually, the library will have the resources and volunteers to collect and publish all those local stories.”