Started in 1915 by author and journalist Carter G. Woodson, Black History Month was first called Negro History Week and held in the second week of February, since the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were on the 12th and 14th, respectively.
The week was expanded to a month-long celebration in the 1970s and has since served as an excellent opportunity to honor the achievements and legacy of great African-Americans. Montgomery County offers a fascinating variety of historical sites related to African-American history, many of which are a short drive from Courts of Devon.
Why not plan a trip to one of these interesting attractions this month – or visit any time and celebrate African-American history throughout the year?
Underground Railroad Experience Trail – Embark on a journey with guides, also called “conductors,” on a two-hour hike along a simulated Underground Railroad trail. Learn what kind of methods freedom seekers used to elude pursuers. Listen to true, fascinating, and heartbreaking stories along the way. 16501 Norwood Road, Sandy Spring (Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park), Maryland; https://www.montgomeryparks.org/parks-and-trails/woodlawn-manor-cultural-park/underground-railroad-experience-trail-hikes/
Sandy Spring Slave Museum – Explore the restored cross-section of a slave clipper ship. See slaves’ lodging and view art and artifacts in the Great Hall. Enjoy storytelling rich with history, humor, and music that celebrate African and African-American cultures. For more information, email SlaveMuseum@yahoo.com. 18524 Brooke Road, Sandy Spring, Maryland; http://www.sandyspringslavemuseum.org/
Josiah Henson Park – Tour the historic Isaac Riley farm, where Rev. Josiah Henson was enslaved from 1795 to 1830. Henson’s 1849 autobiography served as the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. 11420 Old Georgetown Road, N. Bethesda, Maryland; https://www.montgomeryparks.org/parks-and-trails/josiah-henson-park/
Woodlawn Manor Living History Museum – Take a guided tour of the historic 1800s-era house, gazebo gardens, slaves’ log cabin, general store, and smokehouse. 5 High Street (Georgia Avenue), Brookeville, Maryland; http://woodlawnmanormuseum.com/index.html
Oakley Cabin African-American Museum and Park – Journey back in time to the 1890s and enjoy special programs, guided cabin tours, hands-on activities, and old-fashioned children’s games. Tour the restored 19th-century log cabin, home to African-American tenant families during the late 1800s. Children will delight in hearing traditional African and African-American stories told by master storytellers. 3610 Brookeville Road, Olney, Maryland; https://www.montgomeryparks.org/parks-and-trails/oakley-cabin-african-american-museum-park/
Harper Cabin at Brookside Nature Center – Visit this 19th-century log cabin complete with period furnishings. Learn how many newly emancipated African-American families lived there, raising chickens and grinding grains. 1400 Glenallen Avenue, Wheaton, Maryland; https://www.montgomeryparks.org/parks-and-trails/brookside-nature-center/explore-brookside/
Button Farm Living History Center – See an heirloom garden, newly restored 19th-century buildings, and a slave cemetery at this farm depicting 1850s plantation life in Maryland. Historical demonstrations, a petting zoo, and Underground Railroad passport activities are available for visitors of all ages. 16820 Black Rock Road, Germantown, Maryland; https://buttonfarm.org/
Boyds Negro School – This one-room structure served as the sole public school for African-American children in the Boyds area from 1895-1936. 19510 White Ground Road, Boyds, Maryland; http://www.boydshistory.org/