State de­clares Feb. 11 Glo­ria Richard­son Day

Dorchester Star - - Front Page - By DUSTIN HOLT dholt@ches­pub.com

1960s with a non­vi­o­lent ap­proach, fo­cus­ing on pub­lic ac­com­mo­da­tions and con­tin­u­ing the cause with other ac­tivists in the Cam­bridge Non­vi­o­lent Ac­tion Com­mit­tee when seg­re­ga­tion re­mained in the city.

“Mary­land rec­og­nizes the coura­geous lead­er­ship and com­mit­ment of Glo­ria H. Richard­son dur­ing the civil rights mo­ment of the 1960s,” Ruther­ford said. “Dur­ing a time of racial seg­re­ga­tion, Glo­ria H. Richard­son be­came one of the strong­est ad­vo­cates for eco­nomic rights, as well as de­seg­re­ga­tion. Mar yland is proud to join in hon­or­ing Glo­ria H. Richard­son for her con­tri­bu­tions in the fight to achieve racial equal­ity dur­ing a defin­ing era of our nation’s strug­gle for civil rights for all.”

CAM­BRIDGE — Lt. Gov. Boyd Ruther­ford cel­e­brated Black His­tory Month in Cam­bridge Satur­day, and pre­sented a procla­ma­tion to civil rights leader Glo­ria Richard­son, declar­ing Feb. 11 Glo­ria Richard­son Day in Mary­land.

Richard­son, 94, a Cam­bridge na­tive, now lives in New York and was un­able to at­tend the cer­e­mony at Bethel African Methodist Epis­co­pal Church in per­son due to a snow­storm. The snow did not stop Richard­son from be­ing part of the cer­e­mony as Ruther­ford was able to present the procla­ma­tion from Gov. Larry Ho­gan to her in front of a large-screen TV via Skype.

She is cred­ited with lead­ing civil rights demon­stra­tions in Cam­bridge dur­ing the

Richard­son thanked the stand­ing-room only crowd at the church.

“I think this is fan­tas­tic that you all put this to­gether,” she said. “It may not be per­fect in Cam­bridge, but there is a big dif­fer­ence from back then when I came along.”

Richard­son also thanked all the peo­ple who joined her dur­ing the civil rights protests back in the 1960s. She said none of the changes to­day would have been pos­si­ble with­out peo­ple com­ing to­gether back then.

“We are work­ing from your plat­form,” said Cam­bridge na­tive and East­ern Shore Net­work for Change co-founder Dion Banks.

Ruther­ford’s visit to Cam­bridge also marked the Black His­tory Month event “Re­flec­tions on Pine Street: Cam­bridge Com­mem­o­rates the Civil Rights Move­ment, Com­mu­nity and Change,” which marked the 50th an­niver­sary of the 1967 race ri­ots that oc­curred in Cam­bridge and the sub­se­quent burn­ing of the el­e­men­tary school and other dwellings on Pine Street.

The event co­in­cides with the up­com­ing July cel­e­bra­tion “50 Years Af­ter the Fire: A Com­mem­o­ra­tion of Our His­tory,” a com­mem­o­ra­tion of sum­mer 1967 and the fire on Pine Street. July’s cel­e­bra­tion will be hosted by East­ern Shore Net­work for Change, which also or­ga­nized Satur­day’s Black His­tory Month event.

Lo­cal and state dig­ni­taries joined Ruther­ford for the ser­vice, in­clud­ing Cam­bridge Mayor Vic­to­ri­aJack­son-Stan­ley, who was a child dur­ing the 1960s civil rights move­ment in Cam­bridge. She later be­came the first woman and African-Amer­i­can to be­come mayor in Cam­bridge.

She thanked Richard­son for be­ing an in­spi­ra­tion to her when she was a child.

“A young girl, look­ing up at this tall, beau­ti­ful woman more than 50 years ago, was part of the civil rights move­ment,” she said. “I saw her and said, ‘Wow, that is a beau­ti­ful woman.’ I just fol­lowed her and lis­tened. I mar­veled at the power of this woman.

“As a young child, I didn’t get the sig­nif­i­cants of that at the time, but now I know what I was look­ing at,” she said. “I of­fered my per­sonal con­grat­u­la­tions to Glo­ria Richard­son. (She) is a woman who taught us to stand up and af­firm for what we know is right. To love oth­ers as God loves us.

“To­day, we also honor this woman who took her time to teach us the hard lessons of life — such as stay fo­cused, and be­lieve that if you stay fo­cused, your good work will be no­ticed. I still look up to this tall, beau­ti­ful woman. I say thank you Glo­ria Richard­son for the ex­am­ple you set for us, for me, for the city of Cam­bridge.”

Be­fore the ser­vice, Ruther­ford toured Pine Street, the lo­ca­tion of the 1967 ri­ots. He re­flected about the tour when speak­ing to the crowd gath­ered in­side the church.

“It is proven that it wasn’t just in Los An­ge­les where the strug­gle for equal rights reached a boil­ing point,” he said. “That strug­gle find it­self right here in Mary­land, in Cam­bridge in it­self. It is an honor to be here in this com­mu­nity to help cel­e­brate Black His­tory Month in Mary­land.”

Ruther­ford spoke about Carter G. Wood­son, who said Black His­tory Month was not nec­es­sar­ily to ex­clude any groups but to make sure the con­tri­bu­tions of black Amer­i­cans were be­ing rec­og­nized.

“In fact, he stated we should em­pha­size not Ne­gro his­tory but the Ne­gro in his­tory,” he said. “What it means to me is not a his­tory of se­lec­tive races or na­tions but the his­tory the world, void of any nat­u­ral bias, race hate and re­li­gious prej­u­dice.

“I be­lieve that here in Mary­land, we are mov­ing in that di­rec­tion,” he said. “This time of­fers an op­por­tu­nity rec­og­nize and cel­e­brate the count­less con­tri­bu­tions of African-Amer­i­cans. Over the years, so many peo­ple have paved the way for all of us. We have come a long way in terms of the strug­gle for equal op­por­tu­nity and equal rights.

“Much progress has been made since the un­rest of 50 years ago,” he said. “But all of us rec­og­nize there is still much more to be done. I would be re­miss if I didn’t men­tion the legacy of Dr. (Martin Luther) King (Jr.), a man who is re­mem­bered not just as a pil­lar of so­ci­ety but for his mes­sage of equal­ity for all. All of us still share in that dream. And all of us share in mak­ing that dream a re­al­ity.”

Dorch­ester County will re­al­ize its own dream in March with the grand open­ing of the Har­riet Tub­man Un­der­ground Rail­road State Park and Vis­i­tor Cen­ter.

The state park and vis­i­tor cen­ter is lo­cated at 4068 Golden Hill Road in Church Creek near Black­wa­ter Na­tional Wildlife Refuge.

Tub­man was born in Dorch­ester County and lived here as a slave un­til she was nearly 30 years old. She es­caped slav­ery in 1849 yet risked her life to re­turn to the East­ern Shore many times to help oth­ers in their jour­ney to free­dom. She helped about 70 slaves es­cape and led them north. Some went as far north as Canada.

The state park is about 17 acres and fea­tures a 10,000-square foot Lead­er­ship in En­ergy and En­vi­ron­ment De­sign Sil­ver rated vis­i­tor cen­ter, legacy gar­den and an open-air pavil­ion with a stone fire­place.

“We pre­pare to cel­e­brate her vi­sion, her sac­ri­fice, her honor and the way she has im­pacted the world right here from Cam­bridge,” Banks said. “Th­ese are ex­am­ples of how hope, faith, courage and strength can change the world. Proof that no mat­ter how many years go by, we are still in the spirit of great­ness, which leads us to the civil rights era — one of the most pow­er­ful era in our nation’s his­tory.”

The sum­mer of 1967 was the height of civil rights move­ment in Cam­bridge. On the evening of July 24, 1967, a fire erupted on Pine Street, the heart of the African-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity. An el­e­men­tary school, sev­eral busi­nesses and a church were de­stroyed in the fire.

“This year marks a piv­otal time in our nation’s his­tory,” Banks said. “It is also an his­toric time for the his­tory of our great city. It is the 50th an­niver­sary of the civil rights move­ment, our civil rights move­ment – also known as the long, hot sum­mer of 1967.

“It’s our true story of sur­vival, a story of strength,” he said. “It is a story of per­se­ver­ance. It is a story about faith. A faith that is un­chang­ing and for­ever en­com­pass­ing. It is a story about the same faith that led us all here to­day to honor the strug­gle of the peo­ple who fought for so­cial jus­tice, equal­ity, rights, and to sum it us, it is all about civil rights.”

Banks said Dorch­ester County must con­tinue to cre­ate hope for chil­dren with new ex­pe­ri­ences of love, com­pas­sion, cel­e­bra­tion and mo­ti­va­tion.

“All of th­ese things need to be on ev­ery cor­ner, so no mat­ter where a child goes, it spreads this type of love,” he said. “We must com­mit to fight­ing for the change every­one seeks. We must com­mit to not los­ing any child to drugs. We must com­mit to not los­ing a child by not grad­u­at­ing from school. We must com­mit to the fu­ture of our city and our great county.

“To do this, we must draw strength from each other,” he said. “We have to have that one thing that cre­ates a fire in your belly. That one thing that keeps you up at night. That one thing that you don’t have all the an­swers to but you re­al­ize you have to do some­thing.

“That is when faith be­comes a com­forter and God starts to di­rect your path,” he said. “Th­ese civil rights he­roes sac­ri­ficed it all be­cause their pas­sion and pur­pose burned so deep in­side of them that it called them to act.

“Glo­ria Richard­son, who we honor to­day, played a strate­gic role in one of the most pro­lific civil rights mo­ments of all time,” he said. “Her ded­i­ca­tion to change, civil rights, hu­man jus­tice would go on to af­fect lo­cal and na­tional pol­i­tics. I want you to know that she is a liv­ing leg­end. The power of who I’m go­ing to be, and the story’s about Glo­ria Richard­son mo­ti­vated me all through­out my life.”

Ruther­ford, along with Sen. Ad­die Eckardt, R37-Mid-Shore; Del. Sheree Sam­ple-Hughes, D-37ADorch­ester-Wi­comico; and Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37BTal­bot, pre­sented procla­ma­tions to Banks and ESHC co­founder Kisha Pet­ti­co­las for the Cam­bridge Civil Rights 50th an­niver­sary se­ries.

East­ern Shore Net­work for Change’s “50 Years Af­ter the Fire: A Com­mem­o­ra­tion of Our His­tory” se­ries will be held July 21 to 24.

The week­end will fea­ture walk­ing tours, art ex­hibits, book read­ings, a gala din­ner, prayer break­fast and more. For more in­for­ma­tion about the or­ga­ni­za­tion, visit it on Face­book and its web­site, www.es­nc­cam­bridgemd. com/50th-an­niver­sar y-civil­rights.

Fol­low Caroline/ Dorch­ester Ed­i­tor Dustin Holt on Twit­ter @Dustin_ StarDem.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

Lt. Gov. Boyd Ruther­ford, right, presents a procla­ma­tion to Cam­bridge Civil Rights Leader Glo­ria Richard­son Satur­day at Bethel African Methodist Epis­co­pal Church in Cam­bridge. Snow in New York kept Richard­son from mak­ing the cer­e­mony but she par­tic­i­pated in the event on a large-screen tele­vi­sion through Skype. Dion Banks holds a cell phone to broad­cast the cer­e­mony to Richard­son.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

East­ern Shore Net­work for Change co-founder Dion Banks, cen­ter, raises his fist and leads the crowd in a mo­ment of sol­i­dar­ity dur­ing Satur­day’s Black His­tory Month cer­e­mony at Bethel African Methodist Epis­co­pal Church in Cam­bridge. Lt. Gov. Boyd Ruther­ford at­tended the event and pre­sented procla­ma­tions for the cer­e­mony.

Sen. Ad­die Eckardt, R-37-Mid-Shore; Del. Sheree Sam­ple-Hughes, D-37A-Dorch­ester-Wi­comico; and Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B-Tal­bot, present procla­ma­tions Satur­day, Feb. 11, to East­ern Shore Net­work for Change co-founder Dion Banks for the Cam­bridge Civil Rights 50th an­niver­sary se­ries.

Cam­bridge Mayor Vic­to­ria Jackson-Stan­ley, left, presents Lt. Gov. Boyd Ruther­ford with a Har­riet Tub­man paint­ing at Satur­day’s Black His­tory Month cer­e­mony at Bethel African Methodist Epis­co­pal Church in Cam­bridge.

PHOTOS BY DUSTIN HOLT

Lt. Gov. Boyd Ruther­ford, left, East­ern Shore Net­work for Change co-founder Dion Banks and Cam­bridge-Mayor Vic­to­ria Jackson-Stan­ley un­veil Satur­day the ESNC’s ban­ner for the up­com­ing se­ries “50 Years Af­ter the Fire: A Com­mem­o­ra­tion of Our His­tory,” a com­mem­o­ra­tion of the sum­mer of 1967 and the fire on Pine Street

A mem­ber of the au­di­ence uses her phone to broad­cast Satur­day’s Black His­tory Month cer­e­mony at Bethel African Methodist Epis­co­pal Church in Cam­bridge.

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