Aferican American Heritage
Howard County and the surrounding region are home to several historical sites that focus on the contributions of local African-Americans. From Benjamin Banneker, famous scientist, to Decatur Dorsey, Civil War hero, Howard County is indeed rich with African-American history.
Benjamin Banneker Historical Park & Museum
A national landmark site, offering rare, significant historical and national treasures, the Park & Museum has been a jewel in the cultural and ecological landscape of Maryland for well over a decade, a destination with a diverse array of educational exhibits, performance and environmental programs. The park and museum are now located where Banneker once lived. The museum’s exhibits and staff tell the inspiring story of Banneker and his place in early American history.
300 Oella Avenue
Catonsville, MD 21228
The Ellicott City Colored School Restored
Further west, in Historic Ellicott City,. The building itself dates to about 1880. In use as a school until the early 1950’s, the building was re-purchased by the county in 1995 and restored with the assistance of public and private funding. The building, located at 8683 Frederick Road, now houses a genealogical resource center and a museum chronicling the history of African Americans in Howard County. Changing exhibits and seminars highlight the contributions by people of color to the history of the region. Tours are offered Saturday and Sunday at 3:00PM April through October. Private and group tours are available year round, weather permitting.
8683 Frederick Road
Ellicott City, MD 21043
There is a Civil War Trails Marker at the Colored School commemorating Decatur Dorsey, one of only sixteen African American soldiers to receive the Medal of Honor for courage under fire during the Civil War. Sgt. Dorsey, of Company B, 39th United States Colored Troops, earned his medal at the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg, Virginia, on July 30, 1864. He bore the regiment’s flag during the charge through the Crater to the Confederate line. According to his Medal of Honor citation, Dorsey “planted his colors on the Confederate works in advance of his regiment, and when the regiment was driven back to the Union works he carried the colors there and bravely rallied the men.” Regimental color-bearers were especially courageous, because they could not defend themselves and were conspicuous targets for enemy sharpshooters.
African Art Museum Of Maryland
A visit to the African Art Museum of Maryland is enjoyed by a varied audience and encourages an understanding of African art and culture with exhibits, events and activities. Although the museum does not focus on African-American history, it is a heritage site close to the heart of many local African-Americans. Within the museum visitors can find sculptures, masks, musical instruments, jewelry and household items, among other things. The museum also offers classroom facilities for school groups.
11711 East Market Place, Maple Lawn
Fulton, MD 20759
Howard County Center for African American Culture, Inc.
An educational organization dedicated to the collection, preservation and interpretation of African American history and culture of Howard County Maryland and the surrounding region with on-going exhibits and events. Established in 1987, the Center promotes greater awareness among the public of local African-American history. The library upstairs carries an extensive collection of literature and music produced by African-Americans. 5434 Vantage Point Road, Columbia. 410-715-1921
Elkridge Furnace Inn
The Inn is a documented ‘stop’ on the Underground Railroad; the Ellicott family were Quakers who did not believe in keeping slaves, yet had paid servants…they built a tunnel leading from what is now our wine cellar, underground, out to the Patapsco River behind the main mansion. The tunnel has since been closed off but still remains in whole.
Our Garden House, which we are currently restoring and adding another tented reception area, was owned by the first African American lawyer in Howard County who later donated it to house the teachers for one of the first African American schools in Howard County.
The two small shed-like structures between our main parking lot and the mansion are original slave quarters built ca1740 by Caleb Dorsey, Jr. The tin stamp roofing, found on both quarters, is one of the earliest examples of such to be known of in the United States, if not the earliest.
The complex is also part of the Civil War Trail and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
5745 Furnace Ave.
Elkridge, MD 21705