African American News and Genealogy

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

A look at one of the historic African-American communities in Baltimore County ?

by Louis S. DiggsBaltimore TimesOriginally posted 5/5/2006 East TowsonThis article will provide you with a brief look at another one of the historic African American communities in Baltimore County. The community is called East Towson, located in the town of the County Seat of Government, Towson, Maryland. Some say that East Towson has been in existence since the slavery era; some say that this unique historic African-American community has been the home for freed slaves as early as 1802; however, it is a known fact that it was a freed slave from the Hampton Mansion in Towson by the name of Daniel Harris, who on September 14, 1853 purchased an acre and a quarter of land from Benjamin Payne for $187.50 on which he eventually built his home. His land was near the roadway and is now known as Hillen Road.Towson had its beginning in 1750, and it was in the 1700s when Charles Ridgley built the Hampton Mansion, with his slaves clearing the land and building the mansion, and it is no doubt that other white families who owned large estates in the Towson area had slaves as well. It is known that Charles Ridgley freed some of his slaves in the late 1820s. His slaves held numerous occupation titles, which is probably why some remained in the Towson area to work rather than migrate to Baltimore. East Towson, like just about all of the historic African-American communities in Baltimore County, began with a Methodist Church as its focal point. East Towson's first African-American church, St. James A.U.M.P. (African Union Methodist Protestant) Church had its beginning in 1861, and is believed to be the second oldest church in Towson. Actually, East Towson has been blessed with three African-American churches: St. James A.U.M.P. Church, Mt. Olive Baptist Church and Mt. Calvary AME Church, that served the community.There have been two African- American schools in East Towson, the first being a one-room schoolhouse near Mt. Calvary AME Church, and the other on Lennox and Jefferson Avenues. The later school eventually became Carver High School when in 1939, secondary education became a part of the curriculum in three schools in the county. It is so wonderful that Carver High School still stands today, serving as a community center. Full Story:


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