The Chestertown Town Council couldn’t have timed commemorating Black History Month any better than Chesapeake Heartland’s presentation at Monday’s council meeting.
Chesapeake Heartland: An African American Humanities Project is an extraordinary collaboration between Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, established to “preserve, share, curate, and interpret a broad array of material that documents the many facets of Kent County’s African American history and culture.
Patrick Nugent, Deputy Director of Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center and lecturer of History, narrated the slideshow describing the ongoing project and how they have reached deeply into the Kent County’s history to collect and preserve documents, photographs and movies.
“We wanted to document Chesapeake history with the idea that Chesapeake Heartland was really kind of the center and birthplace of African American history and culture, and Kent County was a microcosm of it,” Nugent says.
Much of the search for items has been accomplished by the Board’s Community Historians Carolyn Brooks and Airlee Johnson and their life-long affiliation with the community. Along with community and campus partners, interns, and volunteers, the collection of material was digitized by Jasmine Castro and is now showcased on their site.
As board member Airlee Johnson writes in her biography on the project’s website, “there was usually very little information regarding the rich culture of African Americans and how much the Black community contributed to the American historical landscape.”
For a complete overview of Chesapeake Heartland’s remarkable journey to dimensionalize and bring to the fore an inclusive Kent’s County history, take a look at this presentation.
This video is approximately eight minutes in length. More about Chesapeake Heartland may be found here.