Pine Avenue skit
As noted in an article appearing in the August 13, 2016 edition of the Cumberland Times-News, “The Pine Avenue Playground opened as the city’s 'colored' playground in 1933 and members of the local African-American community dug the pool by hand. Even though swings were not added until 1944, the playground was the center of summer life for generations of Cumberland’s black children. Although the city desegregated its playgrounds in 1948, the Pine Avenue Playground remained the 'colored' playground by tradition. For a period of twenty years, Jean Beckward served as the playground supervisor.”
Children from the Pine Avenue playground pose for a photograph at Skit Night held at Constitution Park. Pine Avenue was considered to be the city's "black" playground.
The Pine Avenue Playground skit participants include:
Front row, kneeling left to right: Tony Thompson, Corbin Banks, Ernie Ashby, and Joseph Simms
Second row, left to right: Pam Ashby, Sharon Brewington, Donna Ashby(?), Towanda Thompson, Sonya Cooper, and Johnny Cooper
Back row, left to right: Jimmy Beckwith, Toni Wilson, Gary Beckward, Johnny Holmes, Marcellus Wells, Woodrow Gordon, Bonnie Peck, and Karen Keyes.
Gary Eugene Beckward, depicted above, was born in 1947 and went on to graduate from Fort Hill High School in 1965 where he was a member of the Hi-Y, Fort Hill Players, and football and basketball teams. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland in 1970 and graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Business Management in 1975.
Gary Beckward had an extensive and successful career in business and real estate, was a member of the Cumberland A.M.E. Church, and volunteered in many civic organizations.
Jean Etta Beckward, his mother, and William A. Colbert, his special uncle, appear elsewhere on this website as does his sister Deborah Doreen Beckward who graduated from Fort Hill High School in 1968. Gary Beckward served as a role model and friend to many people. He passed away at his home in Bethesda, Maryland in 2004.
Information provided by Bonita Austin
Photograph: Carver Community Center Museum
Allegany County, Maryland
African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.
Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008