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Lexington Park in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

A "War to end all Wars"

Upheaval and Continuity

— 1900 - 1920 —

 
 
A "War to end all Wars" Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), September 12, 2021
1. A "War to end all Wars" Marker
Inscription.  
The early 20th c. is commonly referred to as "The Progressive Era." Some of the hallmarks of the era were modernization in communications and transportation and advancements in public health and safety. The expansion of the scope and powers of the Federal Government led to regulation and reforms including child labor laws, compulsory public education, workers' rights, and conservation. The 1920's closed with the enactment of the 18th Amendment (prohibition) and the 19th Amendment (the right of women to vote).

Despite its relative proximity to Washington, D.C., St. Mary's County's deeply-rooted agrarian culture was largely unaffected by the trends and influences affecting the nation as a whole. The County's economy was driven y the production of tobacco rather than the food crops that were essential to supporting the needs of a burgeoning economy. Accessing the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay was accomplished locally using traditional methods. Many African Americans combined fishing, oystering, and crabbing with working as sharecroppers or farm hands. Nationally, segregation laws and limited employment opportunities helped fuel
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the Great Migration of southern African-Americans to northern cities, and St. Mary's Countians continued to migrate to Baltimore and Washington, DC.

The Plessy decision set the precedent that "separate" facilities for blacks and whites were constitutional as long as they were "equal."

The World goes to War:
America entered World War I the spring of 1917. Young men from the country, black and white, answered the call of military recruiters and left their families to fight in the "Great War." In spite of the availability of deferments for farm workers, 258* African-American soldiers served, and 10 of the 27 St. Mary's County soldiers who died were African American. For many it was their first experience traveling more than a few miles from home, and, for those who were stationed in France, of an environment without the pervasive oppression that characterized the Jim Crow South. Wives and mothers had the burden of running farms, keeping families safe, and making do with wartime food and fuel shortages.

The war brought about the development of the airplane as a weapon and means of transport.

The long standing social and economic structures that existed in the County prior to the Great War survived the conflict largely intact. Veterans returned to a segregated, rural county that offered them limited educational and
A "War to end all Wars" Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), September 12, 2021
2. A "War to end all Wars" Marker
job opportunities.
 
Erected by Commissioners of St. Mary's County; St. Mary's County Legislative Delegation; State of Maryland Board of Public Works; St. Mary's County Department of Recreation and Parks; St. Mary's College of Maryland Department of History.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil RightsIndustry & CommerceWar, World I. A significant historical year for this entry is 1917.
 
Location. 38° 15.66′ N, 76° 26.932′ W. Marker is in Lexington Park, Maryland, in St. Mary's County. Marker is on Rennell Avenue West, 0.2 miles east of Willows Road, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 21550 Willows Rd, Lexington Park MD 20653, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Two Worlds / One County (a few steps from this marker); Defining Freedom and Building Community (a few steps from this marker); United States Colored Troops (a few steps from this marker); The Great Depression and New Opportunities (within shouting distance of this marker); Sergeant James H. Harris (within shouting distance of this marker); United States Colored Troops (USCT) (within shouting distance of this marker); Private William H. Barnes
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(within shouting distance of this marker); Lexington Park (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lexington Park.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 13, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 13, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 95 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 13, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Apr. 14, 2024