Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
African American Politicians
Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trial
As far back as 1792, Thomas Brown, an African American horse doctor and veteran of the Revolutionary War, ran for state delegate, the first known African American to seek office in Baltimore. After the Civil War, Hiram Rhodes Revels (1827-1911), minister of the Baltimore Colored Presbyterian Church from 1858 to 1863, became the first African American U.S. Senator (R. Mississippi) in 1870.
Twenty years later, Harry Sythe Cummings (1866-1917) became Baltimore’s first African American elected official. He served four non-consecutive terms. Other African Americans who held city council positions include: Dr. John Marcus Cargill (1895-1897), Hiram Watty (1899 and 1905), William L. Fitzgerald (elected in 1919), Warner T. McGuinn ( elected in 1999) and Walter S. Emerson (elected in 1927). From 1890 to 1930, at least one African American (except 1905 and 1923) served on the city council.
When William Fitzgerald cut ties with the Republican Party and joined the Democratic Party in 1930, African Americans lost their slight hold in the city council. Not until 1955 did an African American again serve on the city council.
In 1989, Clarence “Du” Burns became the first
Baltimore redrew its council districts in 1991, allowing for eight African Americans to become elected. In 2007, Sheila Dixon became the first African American woman elected mayor.
(Inscription below the images in the upper right)
Above Top: Howard campaign office, Above: Joseph Howard, Parren Mitchell and Archie Williams celebrate victory, 1968.
(Inscription above the images in the lower left)
Left: Hiram Rhodes Revels, first African American U.S. Senator. Below: William Fitzgerald receives honors.
(Inscriptions below the images on the far right)
Warner T. McGuinn
Warner T. McGuinn graduated from Lincoln University in 1884 and Yale Law School in 1887. McGuinn became friends with Mark Twain who, impressed with McGuinn’s intellectual abilities, helped finance McGuinn’s law school education.
William Fitzgerald came from Tennessee after receiving his law degree in 1898. He became the first African American to pass the newly instituted written bar exam. He specialized in real estate, and his work resulted in some of the
Walter Emerson grew up in Baltimore and by 1892, at the age of 19, he became secretary of the 7th Ward Republican Club. Thereafter, he was elected three times to the Republican State Central Committee.
African American Baltimore City Council members
Dr. John Marcus Cargill, Harry S. Cummings, Walter S. Emerson, William T. Fitzgerald, Warner T. McGuinn, Hiram Watty
Walter T. Dixon, Henry G. Parks
Mary B. Adams, Victorine Q. Adams, Clarence H. “Du” Burns, Robert L. Douglas, Nathan Irby, Jr., Dr. Emerson R. Julian, Alice M. Marshall, Robert C. Marshall, Michael B. Mitchell, Henry G. Parks
Victorine Q. Adams, Clarence H. “Du” Burns, Dr. Claude Hill, Nathan Irby, Jr., Edwin A. Johnson, Nathaniel McFadden, Kweisi Mfume, Michael B. Mitchell, Sterling Paige, Iris Reeves, Norman V.A. Reeves, Agnes Welch; 1987-1991 Lawrence A. Bell, III, Sheila Dixon, Vera Hall, Jacqueline McClean, Iris Reeves, Carl Stokes, Agnes Welch
Lawrence A. Bell, III, Paula Johnson Branch, Rita R. Church, Joan Carter Conway, Robert L. Douglass, Sheila Dixon, Vera Hall, Dr. Norman A. Handy, Sc. Helen Holton, Keiffer Jackson Mitchell, Jr., Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Iris Reeves, Carl Stokes, Melvin L. Stukes, Agnes Welch, Bernard C. “Jack” Young;
Dr. Kwame Abayomi, Paula Johnson Branch, Pamela Carter, Sheila Dixon, Bea Gaddy, Kenneth N. Harris, Sr., Helen L. Holton, Keiffer Jackson Mitchell, Jr., Catherine E. Pugh, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Lisa Joi Stancil, Melvin L. Stukes, Agnes Welch, Bernard C. “Jack” Young
Paula Johnson Branch, Warren M. Branch, Belinda K. Conaway, Kenneth N. Harris, Sr., Bill Henry, Helen L. Holton, Sharon Green Middleton, Keiffer Jackson Mitchell, Jr., Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Carl Stokes, Agnes Welch, Bernard C. “Jack” Young.
Reverse Side of the Marker
Take a walk through history in storied Old West Baltimore. You’ll relive the glory days of Pennsylvania Avenue and its surrounding neighborhoods. Follow the lives of inspiring people. Tour churches that served as places of empowerment and beacons of enlightenment, and gain new perspective on this African American community’s role in the struggle for civil rights. Explore at your own pace following these story signs to learn about Baltimore African Americans who helped build a city and changed the face of American music, art, literature and politics.
(Inscriptions under the images on the right)
1.Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Maryland
2.The Lillie Carroll Jackson Museum
3.Douglas Memorial Community Church
5.Morriah Keyhole Houses
6.Booker T. Washington Middle School
7.Bethel AME Church
8.Union Baptist Church
9.Sharp Street Methodist Church
10.Henry Highland Garnet School/PS 103
11.The Royal Theatre Marquee Monument
12.Billie Holliday Plaza
13.Macedonia Baptist Church
14.The Comedy Club
15.Trinity Baptist Church
17. Ideal Savings and Loan
19.Thurgood Marshall’s Childhood Home
20.Romare Bearden Mural
(Inscriptions under the images)
*Listen, Can you feel it pulsating down the Street of Royalty?
*It’s bee-bop, jazz, comedy—and of course—the blues.
*All the greats were here. Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, Eubie Blake and more!
*Learn about African American politicians and lawyers like William Ashbie Hawkins and George McMechan who fought against on ordinance segregating whites and blacks block by block.
*Visit churches that nurtured the soul, and also fed, clothed and housed the poor.
*Follow Thurgood Marshall from Henry Highland Garnet School/PS 103, to winning landmark Supreme Court cases, to becoming a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
*Learn how Old West Baltimore residents and church leaders played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement and in the Buy Where You Can Work jobs campaign.
*And walk in the creative footsteps of writer Zora Neale Hurston, artist Romare Breaden and actors at the Arena Players.
Location. 39° 18.112′ N, 76° 37.834′ W. Marker is in Baltimore, Maryland. Marker is at the intersection of Division Street and West Lafayette Avenue on Division Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Baltimore MD 21217, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Henry Highland Garnett School (within shouting distance of this marker); The Street of Royalty (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Courting Justice (about 400 feet away); Henry Highland Garnet Park (about 500 feet away); Billie Holiday Monument. (about 500 feet away); Bethel A.M.E. Church (about 500 feet away); Creating an African American Neighborhood (about 500 feet away); Rev. Dr. Vernon Nathaniel Dodson Memorial (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baltimore.
Categories. • African Americans • Civil Rights • Politics •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 17, 2017. This page originally submitted on March 15, 2017, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 179 times since then and 43 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on March 15, 2017, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.