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History & Lore

At Calvert Library Prince Frederick

After throwing off the shackles of slavery, many blacks in Maryland continued to struggle to meet the most basic needs. The changing face of America meant learning to rely on each other and not the master of a plantation farm. Because of this need, benevolent organizations, or secret societies, were formed.

December 27, 1937, is the day that equality came to Calvert County, thanks to school teacher Harriet ­Elizabeth Brown

Harriet Elizabeth Brown was a young woman of 30 when she challenged separate salary scales for black teachers. The year was 1937.     The Calvert County teacher’s attorney, Thurgood Marshall, was 29 when he represented her in the first Brown vs. Board of Education lawsuit. Together they laid the foundation for the Maryland Teachers Pay Equalization Law.     In 1939, federal courts ruled that determining the salaries of white and colored teachers solely on account of race or color was unlawful discrimination.

Born in the shadow of the Civil War, this African American community has grown and thrived

How did Parole get that odd name?     Today’s sprawling malls at Festival Plaza and the Annapolis Towne Center at Parole are built where once sprawled a Civil War prisoner of war camp, called Camp Parole because the prisoners had given their promise, their parole, not to escape.

Ships’ graveyard possible National Marine Sanctuary site

The Potomac River continues to bear the legacy of World War I — which ended 97 years ago this week — in one of the Chesapeake watershed’s secret places, Mallows Bay.     Tucked into the coastline of Charles County, Mallows Bay is the final resting place for 88 World War I wooden steamships of the U.S. Emergency Fleet. Built between 1917 and 1919, these ships were to supply European and American troops with much-needed supplies.

Lighthouse keeper John White returns to his one-time home after four decades

In John White’s boyhood in Charlotte, North Carolina, schools and water fountains were separated for whites and colored. Rising from the final years of segregation, he could not imagine his future self, as the first black man in command of Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse, ushering in its 100th year of service in 1975.     He got a glimpse of his future when his two older brothers were drafted into the Army for the Vietnam War.     In 1969, the year he graduated high school, White too was drafted.

Maritime historian Richard Dodds tells us how the era of recreational boating rose and flourished

From lighthouses to skipjacks, amphibious landings to speedboats, all that and more is in Richard Dodds’ portfolio as Calvert Marine Museum’s Curator of Maritime History. Inside the Solomons museum, runabouts, cruisers and speedboats that look both modern and classic illustrate how that chapter of maritime history rose and flourished in Southern Maryland. Visit the U.S. Powerboat Show in Annapolis this weekend, and you’ll see the vast diversification of their descendants. It all happened in a very short time.

USS Calvert carried thousands into three warsVeterans Visit Their Ship’s Namesake

Veterans of the USS Calvert (APA-32) and families visited Calvert County, their ship’s namesake, for the first time, on a day that coincided with a blustery nor’easter.     The veterans meet annually, this time in Baltimore, where they toured Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard, where the amphibious assault ship was built. They also visited the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

A ship wrecked long ago now tells its stories

Roads came late to Chesapeake Country. Well into the 20th century, Chesapeake Bay was our central corridor of transportation. Tributaries extended the system, carrying goods and people in and out of the interior.     Now an 18th century merchant ship has risen from its watery grave on the Eastern Shore’s Nanticoke River, reminding us of our history and sparking our sense of wonder.

60 years later, this Chesapeake shipwreck remains a cautionary tale

Much has changed in the maritime world in the 60 years since the sinking of the Levin J. Marvel topped the Chesapeake’s disaster charts. The key to maritime safety hasn’t changed — aboard the Levin J. Marvel in 1955 or the recreational craft we use today.

The past comes to life at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

On the banks of the Rhode River in Edgewater lies a hidden landscape of forests and wetlands called the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Enter, and you’ll discover miles of wooded trails and wildlife. Look more closely, and you will also discover traces of the past.