Any discussion of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s immediately brings to mind images of powerful water hoses turned on demonstrators, police dogs yelping at the flesh of protestors, condiments poured on the heads and clothing of protestors at lunch counter sit-ins, and other indecencies throughout the Deep South. Those things occurred and more, including violent beatings and some deaths, but most individuals do not associate those factors with the small fishing village of Crisfield, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland; however, reality is something quite different.
On Christmas Eve, 1961, a group of protestors, mostly college students, arrived in Crisfield to stage a demonstration against racial inequality. The pro-testors were: Angeline (Angela) Butler, from New York City, aged 20; William (Bill) Hansen, Jr., from Cincinnati, Ohio, aged 21; Reggie Robins, from Baltimore, Mary-land, aged 22; Faith Holsaert, from Brooklyn, New York, aged 18; Bonnie Kilston, from New York City, aged 21; Diane Ostrosky (Ostrowski), from Baltimore, Mary-land, aged 18; Margaret (Peggie) Dammond, from New York City, aged 19; Donnie Fleming, from Baltimore, Maryland, aged 18; Frank McDougald, from Baltimore, Maryland, aged 19; and David Williams, from Baltimore, Maryland, aged 20. The group consisted of six blacks and four whites; five females and five males; and three white females, two black females, and four black males and one white male.
The ten protestors and some of their relatives, some who served as look-outs, and their supporters, arrived in Crisfield, late Christmas Eve, 1961. The pro-testors were members of the Civic Interest Group (CIG), of Baltimore, Maryland and purposely chosen to protest in Crisfield, the home of then Maryland Gover-nor Millard Tawes, where public facilities were segregated. The protestors were familiar with African diplomats who had regularly traveled from New York to Washington, D.C., who in September of 1960 had been refused service at a White Tower restaurant on U.S. Route 40. As a result of that insulting situation, Presi-dent John F. Kennedy personally appealed to Governor Tawes to correct the racial incident. The President passed a public accommodations bill that related to a small area parallel to U.S. 40, but it did not extend to the rest of the state or nation. The CIG, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), had been staging demonstrations against segregation throughout Maryland to make the public aware of racial inequality and to awaken their conscience since the African dip- lomatic incident. Their goal and that of the student protestors was to obtain the support of the Governor and the Maryland General Assembly to help eliminate racial segregation by passing a public accommodations bill.
The protestors arrived in Crisfield late in the afternoon. Their slogan for their planned sit-in was “No Room at The Inn,” reminiscent of Mary and Joseph in the Bible who had been refused room at the inn prior to the birth of Jesus, two thousand years earlier. The protestors arrived too late to stage the demonstration in front of the Governor’s home, but held a sit-in at a local restaurant. Unbe-known to them, the Governor had already left his home and had returned to Annapolis prior to their arrival in Crisfield. They stopped at City Restaurant, the only one that was open at the time, which was owned by Hilda Carey Marshall. When they arrived, the restaurant was closing for the evening and all of the workers had left to be with their families for Christmas Eve. The owner offered to feed the demonstrators at her home, if they were hungry, but they refused to leave the establishment, so the police were called. The demonstrators were charged with trespassing, were arrested, and jailed in Princess Anne, Maryland. When word spread about their arrest, some students from Maryland State College, now the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), serenaded them with Christmas carols.
After their arrest, each protestor chose to remain in jail rather than pay $103.60 bond. On Tuesday, December 26, after a preliminary hearing, four of the protestors were released on $100 bond and the remaining six remained in jail. Those released on bail were Bonnie Kilston, Frank McDougald, Donnie Fleming and Reginald Robinson, all from Baltimore, Maryland. The bail bondsman for the four was Frederick St. Clair of Cambridge, through whom their bonds were paid by the NAACP. St. Clair was a cousin of Gloria Richardson, who later became the leader of the Cambridge Non-Violent Action Committee (CNAC), who organized sit-ins at movie theaters, restaurants and other segregated public places; regis-tered new black voters, and lobbied for equality in education, health care, hou-sing and wages. St. Clair and Gloria Richardson were also cousins of Anthony E. Ward, a local mortician who became the first Black City Councilman in Crisfield.
At the preliminary hearing, the protestors asked for a jury trial. Their attorneys, Mrs. Juanita Jackson Mitchell and Paul J. Cockrell, asked that the charges be dismissed on the grounds that they were based on prejudice and a violation of the protestors’ Fourteenth Amendment rights. Their motion was denied by Trial Magistrate Albert C. Rich. Those six who remained in jail began a hunger strike and sang songs to encourage themselves in order to keep their spirits up, while imprisoned in an unfamiliar place.
State and local newspapers reported that the Christmas Eve sit-in was a forerunner of an anti-segregation drive planned for the Eastern Shore, in January of 1962, which was slated for U.S. Route 50, all the way to Ocean City. In carrying out their plans, the CIG notified Governor Tawes that it planned another protest in Crisfield on Friday, December 29th, and asked the Governor to assist them in desegregating Crisfield. CORE also said that it would follow with a similar free-dom ride on Saturday, December 30th. The Friday sit-in was scheduled to coincide with the release of the six protestors who remained in jail and then they were scheduled to attend a rally at Shiloh Methodist Church, in Crisfield, where 300 persons were expected.
As time wore on and the protestors remained in jail, rumors and false information were spread. One rumor was that the protestors were paid $200 each to participate in the sit-ins. Another falsehood was that 50 carloads of protestors were scheduled to descend on Crisfield. The reality was that only 50 protestors were scheduled to attend the demonstration in Crisfield on Friday, December 29th.
On Friday, December 29th, a total of 120 individuals, most of them local Blacks, marched and chanted without violence. Due to bus trouble and having gotten lost about three times, the bus of 50 protestors arrived with only 28 protestors, around 8 p.m., more than five hours late. By the time they arrived, nearly all of the town’s restaurants had closed. Upon their arrival in Crisfield, two groups entered lunch counters and were served. One establishment announced that it was serving Negroes that night only, rather than changing its segregation policy. Two of the local restaurant owners agreed to allow anyone to be served in their establishments as long as they exhibited good behavior. The only arrests that were made came from two spectators for trying to annoy the protest mar-ches. Some bystanders threw eggs, but they did not reach the marchers. To the credit of everyone involved, the protests were non-violent and no one was physically assaulted.
After the march, the groups went to Shiloh Methodist Church for a rally where speakers urged the passage of a public accommodations bill to end further demonstrations. The purpose of the church rally was to encourage locals to fight segregation because they would have to continue to fight in order to achieve equity once the protestors left the area.
More rumors and innuendos spread throughout the local area and the state regarding the protests. For example, a statement was issued by Somerset County State’s Attorney Wade Ward, “that community leaders planned to appoint com-mittees comprised of both races and merchants to work out an agreement that would be satisfactory to all persons.” After the protestors left town on Friday, December 29, it was reported that Wade had an agreement from four Crisfield restaurants to desegregate before the freedom riders left Baltimore, but when they found that a bus load of riders were coming anyway, they tore up the agreement. Wade also reportedly revealed that CORE and CIG leaders were informed of the agreement. The bus came anyway with instructions that if they had actually agreed to integrate there wouldn’t be a demonstration. However, the bus got lost and two restaurants remained open two hours later than their normal operating hours, as a show of good faith. However, the restaurants closed before the bus finally arrived at 8 p.m. The most positive thing to come out of the protests was that the Maryland Bi-Racial Commission agreed to create bi-racial commissions on the Eastern Shore.
After December 29th, protests were planned in other towns on the Shore, such as in Cambridge and Easton. For Crisfield, change occurred slowly, and without violence, as had been exhibited throughout the state and other areas of the Deep South. After restaurants opened their doors to all people, other estab-lishments followed suit.
For nearly forty-three years, very little was mentioned or known about the Crisfield Protests of 1961, because most of those who witnessed the protests or participated in them had passed. For some unknown reason, pictures of the pro-testors were found in California and someone noticed that one of the pictures had a sign with the name Crisfield, Maryland on it. Those who held the pictures notified the local authorities and the Tawes Museum and inquired if they were in-terested in the photographs. The photos were sent to the museum and fortune-ately, Tim Howard, a History graduate student at Salisbury University and em-ployee at the museum, saw the photos and purchased some of them.
While Howard was enrolled in Dr. Clara L. Small’s History 590 class in Local History at Salisbury University in the spring of 2004, Congressman John Lewis was a speaker in Salisbury University’s Sarbanes Lecture Series. On March 29th, 2004, students in Dr. Small’s class were given the opportunity to meet, privately for about an hour, with Congressman Lewis. Tim Howard was one of the honored students. He had some of the photographs of the participants of the Crisfield protests and showed them to Congressman Lewis. The Congressman readily identified four of the ten demonstrators in the Crisfield protests because he had participated with them in various protests, or he had trained with them in previous non-violent procedures. Recent publications of women in the Civil Rights Movement, the persistence and fortitude of Tim Howard, and those photographs will forever link the late Congressman John Lewis, one of the most famous icons of the Civil Rights Movement, to the Sarbanes Lecture Series, Salisbury University, and the little known Crisfield Protests of December 1961.
Clara L. Small, Ph.D.
Emerita Professor of History
May, 25, 2022
The Worcester County NAACP has been awarded a mini-grant to host Judy Johnson Day on June 12 at Shorebird Stadium in Salisbury at 2pm.
Judy Johnson Day will feature special appearances by previous negro league players; Sam Allen, Pedro Sierra and Rayner Banks! The informational flyer is attached below:
There are so many options to exploring the shore but we wanted to narrow the list to a few of our
favorites. Whether you are into nature, history or culture, there’s something for everyone on this list.
Top 5 Things to Do in 2022
1. Discover Assateague Island in the off-season. Explore the 3 nature trails and walk the beach for some
great off-season finds.
2. Take a Smith Island Pelican Tour. See hundreds of nesting pelicans with local guides and watermen.
This is a once in a lifetime experience!
3. Visit Smith Island and stop in at the Smith Island Cultural Center in Ewell. Sample some Smith Island
Cake while you’re there.
4. Paddle the Pocomoke and see beaver dams, birds and reptiles. The section from Porter’s Crossing
Road to Snow Hill is eligible for the Wild River designation due to its pristine wilderness and beauty.
5. Attend the 81st Annual National Folk Festival in Salisbury. This free, three-day event celebrates the
great and diverse folk and traditional arts in America. Nowhere will you find so many cultural arts in one
place. Coming back August 26-28, 2022.
We are excited to announce our mini-grant awards to 6 organizations across the heritage area.
Berlin Heritage Foundation
Berlin Heritage Foundation was awarded $2,500 for the development of two new exhibits in the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum. The Museum will be researching, creating, and installing two new exhibits telling the stories from the African American communities in Berlin. The first will be about Briddletown, which refers to the east end of Flower Street that was established in 1866 by free blacks and formerly enslaved people who settled there in the years following the Civil War.
The second will revolve around the history of Reverend Doctor Charles Albert Tindley, an American Methodist minister and gospel music composer who was born in Berlin, MD and whose composition "I'll Overcome Someday" is credited as the basis for the U.S. Civil Rights anthem "We Shall Overcome."
Crisfield Heritage Foundation
Crisfield Heritage Foundation was awarded $900 create a new exhibit within the J. Millard
Tawes Historical Museum in Crisfield. The exhibit will showcase the history of the Agricultural
industry in Crisfield and the surrounding areas of Somerset County. Current and past exhibits within the
museum have showcased industries such as Seafood (crabbing and oystering), decoy carving, shipbuilding, manufacturing and even the political heritage.
Delmarva Discovery Museum
Delmarva Discovery Museum was awarded $2,500 to host Delmarva Heritage Days, a 2-day event in March that will celebrate Delmarva’s rich decoy carving history and its unique traditions. Master carvers and living legends will be on hand to demonstrate their craft and tell their stories. In addition, their will be a decoy historian on hand to historic decoys for their age and value.
Maryland Coastal Bays Program
The Maryland Coastal Bays Program is receiving $2,500 to promote the heritage and history of the fishing industry in the greater Ocean City Area in what is titled Voices of the Coastal Bays. The stories hidden within these fisheries will be told, recognized and supported with individual oral histories of local fishermen and commercial fishermen. They’ll also be producing a Sustainable Seafood Guide highlighting local species and the importance of making environmentally-conscious seafood choices that promote local catches. In addition, an interactive story page on their website that will take the visitor through the history of fishing in the Coastal Bays.
Somerset County Historical Trust
Somerset County Historical Trust was awarded $1,000 to produce a Fairmount Academy Film Series. Finds will be used to acquire and market a 3 date film series, to be shown outside on the Fairmount Academy Grounds, in Spring, early Summer and Fall of 2022. Proceeds will be used to continue to restore the Fairmount Academy property and buildings.
Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art
Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art was awarded $2,500 in funding to support an exhibit (January 28 – May 15, 2022), gallery book (available January 2022), virtual exhibit tour (March 2022), and artist talk and community roundtable (February 2022), all focused on a new series of artworks reflecting Black experiences of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, created by Berlin, MD artist Patrick Henry.
Germantown School Video
The Germantown School is a two-teacher, Rosenwald school serving students in the African American community of Germantown, Maryland from its opening in 1922 until the late 1950s.
Seal Stewards of the Maryland Coastal Bays
It’s almost seal season (late December-May) so thought we’d share this great program in case you want to get involved.
Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) and the National Aquarium partnered in 2012 to launch an outreach program on responsible seal viewing and sighting reporting. Out of this partnership developed the seal steward program, as Ocean City and Assateague Island have been experiencing a significant increase in seal sightings.
This citizen volunteer opportunity is an ‘on call’ opportunity. When a seal hauls out, seal stewards are contacted to see if they are available to man the haul out area to make sure beach and dog walkers keep a safe distance to protect both the walkers, dogs, and the seal.
Town of Snow Hill- $29,715
Upgrades and refurbishment to the hull of the Paddlewheel boat- The Black-Eyed Susan
The Black-Eyed Susan is a 111-foot paddle wheel boat was purchased by the Town of Snow Hill in the fall
of 2020 for $324,900, which will be used to enhance Snow Hill and the region through tours, education,
training, seminars and other cultural heritage-centered events and uses. This vessel will provide a
unique venue and magnate for enhancing cultural heritage appreciation and knowledge for the region.
In the fall of 2021 and spring of 2022. the Town will need to upgrade and refurbish below the water line
so that this vessel will be viable for years to come, which is the subject of this project application. The
project includes transportation of the vessel to Cambridge, MD, from Snow Hill, MD, and extraction
from the water for restoration, and return transportation to Snow Hill.
Through this project, the museum and the Town of Snow Hill have an opportunity to provide exposure
to and interpretation of the history and culture of Snow Hill, Worcester County, and the surrounding
region while reaching out to heritage tourists, local residents, and school-aged students. The welcome
exhibit and programs will add to the museum's ability to market itself to heritage tourists and engage
with the local community. It will be on display indefinitely and will contribute to the town of Snow Hill's
appeal as a heritage destination.
This vessel will be used for group events, community events, private charters and regional attraction of
visitors to Snow Hill for heritage tourism, cultural sustainability, inclusivity, and accessibility. The vessel
has a full kitchen and capacity for 150.
All Hallows Church, Snow Hill- $10,000
All Hallows Episcopal Church Historic Structure Report
Development of Phase II of a comprehensive and professionally prepared Historic Structure Report for
the purpose of evaluating the current conditions of All Hallows Episcopal Church in order to: prioritize
needs; guide the immediate and long-term phases of restoration for the structure; and plan for
historical interpretation and expanded use by the public. This Exterior Envelope “Historic Structure
Report” will define and chart a course of action to assess and guide the effects of actual “bricks and
mortar” interventions of a proposed treatment or construction related project on the existing fabric of
the building. It will provide a framework to guide the architects, structural engineers, conservation
experts, and contractors in the renovation, reconstruction, and restoration needs. Moreover, it will be
beneficial to All Hallows in funding its capital improvement program and to prioritize the most pressing
and urgent restoration needs as well as establishing a program for long-term renovations.
Pocomoke City- $10,000
Pocomoke City- $10,000
Sturgis One-Room African-American School Museum & 1850 Heritage House
The Sturgis One Room School is a historic U.S. school and is the only African American One Room School in Worcester County retaining its original integrity; it is urgent we preserve this monumental building. The community used this one room school from 1900 to 1937. It was originally known as Sturgis School and was located on Brantley Road. It was moved to its current location in 1996. Restoration and outfitting the Sturgis One Room School is an ongoing task of Sturgis One Room School Museum, Inc. It has been made possible through funds from Pocomoke City, Worcester County, charitable organizations, and personal contributions.
This project would allow for roofing repairs, wood replacement, paint, deck accessibility ramp and landscaping; signage.
Sturgis One Room School Museum, Inc. is an organization that actively works to preserve, promote, and protect the rich cultural heritage of Sturgis One Room School and educate our youth to value the school's cultural and historical richness.
Salisbury, MD - $23,423
Ward Museum Nature Trail Interpretation
This project will replace decades-old interpretive signage along the nature trail at the Ward
Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury University (operated by the Ward Foundation). The nature trail runs
along Schumaker Pond, and currently interprets the natural heritage of the region, with attention to
biological diversity. The signs are badly faded and cracked to the point of being illegible.
MHAA funds will support the creation of new signage featuring revised interpretation focused on
regional natural and cultural heritage. These signs will be a welcomed improvement to the nature trail,
which has become a respite for many local visitors. Additionally, the signs will be a means for out-of-
area visitors to get to know the cultural and natural heritage of our region, and a tool for museum
educators, who regularly use the Nature Trail during field trips and afterschool programming.
Proposed sign themes include: 1) history of the landscape, including a history of the pond and the WM
campus; 2) indigenous history and contemporary presence in the region, with attention to interaction
with the natural landscape; 3) understanding the pond as part of the Atlantic Flyway, and interaction
and importance of birds in the cultural landscape; 4) native plants and the benefits of maintaining these;
5) Schumaker Pond as part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed 6) human impacts on the natural
environment that affect the pond—e.g., increasing stream flow due to climate change, causes of algal
blooms, 7 & 8) the Lower Shore's cultural landscapes. Phases including interpretation of Native themes
will include collaboration with regional tribal leaders (Assateague, Accohannock, Nanticoke, Nause-
Waiwash, and Pocomoke), with focus on the Nanticoke Indian Tribe and Pocomoke Indian Nation due to
traditional proximity to the landscape.
Parsons Cemetery, located in Salisbury, is today both operational and historic. According to their website, it is an urban green space, an outdoor museum, and in the words of architectural historian, Keith Eggener, urban cemeteries "are where life meets death, nature meets city, and present meets past."
Preservation Maryland recently bestowed Parsons Cemetery with the 2020
Best of Maryland Community Choice Award. Over the past several years, the Parsons Cemetery Advisory Board has worked hard to develop walking tours in Parsons Cemetery. Seven tours have been developed and more are being planned for future release. In addition to the tours, Parsons Cemetery is an active participant in
the Wreaths Across America program which honors veterans at Christmas time.
Over the past year, a comprehensive database was created to identify all the veterans who are
interred in Parsons Cemetery so they can be recognized, even those who have no markers.
Work is now underway to create a comprehensive database of all first responders interred in
the cemetery. Ultimately, the Board’s goal is to make the information in the Cemetery
Information Management System (CIMS) available to the public, so they can search for and
locate any person interred in Parsons Cemetery. However, this information is not very useful if people are not easily able to locate graves. Thus, the Board believes the installation of signage is a critical next step in the continued development of self-guided tours and other activities like Wreaths Across America.
Currently, there are no signs which delineate the layout of the cemetery. Parson’s Cemetery is
broken into 9 sections with 40 rows of plots. Through the strategic placement of 19 signs at
various points in the cemetery, the signs will make it easier for people to complete the self-
guided tours in a timely manner. The signs will also make it easier for visitors to locate a specific
person interred in Parsons. The impact of these signs will be immediate and long-lasting, as the
signs will be a permanent feature of the cemetery. Work is expected to be completed by June
You can visit their site, by clicking here.
Mac and Tuck Seem to Crave Visitors
The pandemic has been hard on individuals, on small businesses, and on museums such as the Delmarva
Discovery Museum in Pocomoke City, Maryland. It has also been challenging for Mac and Tuck, the river
otters at the Delmarva Discovery Museum. It turns out they would prefer to have more visitors. In spite
of having lots of attention by trained staff who adore them, they miss hamming it up for visitors.
They follow their visitors as they move from the 6,000-gallon aquarium replicating the Pocomoke River
into the stream and land exhibit. They often show off by wrestling or press a curious nose to the glass
along with their wide webbed feet.
They seem as curious about human behavior as we are about otter behavior.
Schedule a Private Tour
The museum is now offering private guided or self-guided tours to increase social distancing.
Appointments are available Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. The otters are most
likely to be playful around 10 am, or at about 2 pm. Museum admission for a self-guided tour is $10 for
adults and $5 for children. Self-guided tour groups will be limited to no more than 10. Members may
enjoy unlimited visits, subject to schedule availability. Once you have finished your tour, enjoy a private
shopping experience in the museum's gift shop. Reservations are required and can be made online at
delmarvadiscoverycenter.org or by calling the museum at 410-957-9933.
"Otterly" Silly Saturdays Coming Back
The museum will again begin offering Otterly Silly Saturdays on February 6. This program gives a chance
for guests to watch the otters enjoy a special treat, such as live fish or a peanut butter filled toy, while
learning about this native animal. The fifteen-minute program begins at noon, and reservations are
required. Mac and Tuck would love to see you!
Winter Wonderland: Illuminating Traditions
Tuesdays through December 29
A seven-week virtual celebration of winter holidays from around the world and their traditions of light. Each video illuminates a new tradition. Pick up a craft kit to take part in the at-home activities. Reserve your kits at 410-742-4988 x 115 or go to wardmuseum.org.
Ice Ice Berlin: Ice Art Sculptures & Holiday Shop Night
Friday, November 27, 5-9pm
24 holiday ice sculptures carved by award-winning ice artist Erik Cantine throughout town, pinecone birdfeeder craft at the Calvin B. Taylor Museum, Santa, carriage rides, shops open until 9pm.
Small Business Saturday
Saturday, November 28
Shop local this season!
Free Carriage Rides in Berlin
December weekends, 11am-3pm
A Miracle on Market Street
Friday, December 4, 5:30-8:30pm
Walk through the winter wonderland in Downtown Pocomoke City with a tree lighting, holiday music, dance performance, carriage rides, sidewalk sales, vendors, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, a bonfire, and carol sing-alongs.
Light Up Berlin
Drive around town and look at all the beauty Berlin has to offer during this holiday house decorating contest! Tour map list will be available at berlinmainstreet.com
Holiday Tea at Poplar Hill
Thursday, December 10, 11:30am
Celebrate the holiday season at Poplar Hill Mansion, Salisbury’s oldest house, with a tea and menu featuring soup, tea sandwiches, scones, desserts, and more. Safety precautions in place. RSVP by December 4 at 410-749-1776.
A Pemberton Christmas
Saturday, December 12, 11am-4pm
Enjoy a festive day at Pemberton Historical Park with holiday music, decorations, tours of the grounds, wreath-making classes, gingerbread-making contest, socially distanced photos with Santa, fire pits, vendors, food truck, and more.
2nd Friday in Berlin
Sunday, December 13, 5-8pm
Shop, see Santa, and enjoy live music!
On Tuesday, December 1, Giving Tuesday offers an opportunity to help heritage-related nonprofits on the lower eastern shore. By making a donation to the Beach to Bay Heritage area during this nationwide online giving event, you can help preserve our local heritage. As one of 13 heritage areas in Maryland, Beach to Bay blends economic development with conservation of our area's natural, cultural, and historic resources. During this pandemic year we have: