Chestertown in Kent County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Charles Sumner Post, G.A.R.
"Fraternity, Charity, Loyalty"
African American Civil War veterans constructed this meeting hall for Charles Sumner Post No. 25, Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) in 1908. The hall is one of only two known to survive that were built for soldiers who served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT), segregated units composed of former slaves and free blacks commanded by white officers. The post had an auxiliary wing, Woman's Relief Corps 1, the first such group organized in Maryland.
A small group of veterans formed the post shortly after the war, naming it for the abolitionist Massachusetts senator who urged President Abraham Lincoln to extend full rights to African Americans. Sumner later argued against Kent County's U.S. Senator George Vickers for passage of the Fifteenth Amendment, extending voting rights to black males, and spearheaded the passage of the first Civil Rights Act.
The G.A.R. was the largest national Civil War veterans' group, an organization with white, black, and mixed-race posts in many parts of the country. Organized under the principles of "Fraternity, Charity, Loyalty," it lobbied
In 1868, the national G.A.R. established May 30 as Decoration Day; today we celebrate Memorial Day on that date. For decades after the Civil War, like other posts throughout the country, Sumner Post veterans commemorated the day by parading through Chestertown and placing flowers "on the graves of dead soldiers, black and white, Union and Confederate." The last Sumner Post veteran died in 1928.
Erected by Maryland Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Fraternal or Sororal Organizations • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Maryland Civil War Trails series list.
Location. 39° 12.424′ N, 76° 3.979′ W. Marker is in Chestertown, Maryland, in Kent County. Marker is on South Queen Street just south of Cannon Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 224 South Queen Street, Chestertown MD 21620, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Worrell’s Tavern (within shouting distance of this marker); American Revolution Memorial (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); War of 1812 Memorial (about 700 feet away); Civil War Monument (about 700 feet away); Common Cause (about 700 feet away); Chestertown Historic District (about 700 feet away); White & Black, Blue & Gray (about 700 feet away); In Memory of More Than 400 Prominent United States Colored Troops from Kent County (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chestertown.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 23, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 25, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 79 times since then and 38 times this year. Last updated on September 23, 2020, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 25, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.