"Build The Dream" is the theme of the effort currently underway toward the construction of a Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington D.C. The memorial seeks to commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968).
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks (1913-2005), a Montgomery Alabama seamstress, was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white person while riding a public bus. The two Rosa Parks buttons on this page were issued by the Greensboro (North Carolina) Transit Authority (GTA) which commemorates that historic event by holding the Annual Rosa Parks Day on December 1st of each year. The first GTA button is from 2005 when transit systems across the nation, upon her passing, held a special tribute to Parks by reserving the first seat in every bus with a black ribbon and bow. In 2009, a special GTA transit bus visited the city middle schools where GTA staff told the story of Rosa Parks, her heroic actions of that day, and how she came to be known as "The Mother of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement".
The Martin Luther King, Jr. "Dream" button is a reference to the campaign theme and graphics employed by Barack Obama in his 2008 presidential campaign.
Marcus Garvey (1887-1940) founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in 1914 in Jamaica and would later establish the first American chapter in New York City in 1917. Garvey held the organization's title of President-General. The UNIA had as a primary goal the unification of all people of African ancestry and the subsequent establishment of a country and government of their own in Africa. Garvey and the UNIA also fought lynching, racial discrimination, Jim Crow laws, and worked toward the establishment of voting rights for African-Americans. Garvey differed from other leaders and groups in that he felt African-Americans would never be treated equal to whites in America, and as such not only supported segregation but worked toward repatriating African-Americans to Africa. By 1920 it was claimed the UNIA had between three and four million members world-wide, and at a UNIA conference held that same year with over 25,000 people in attendance, Garvey was elected provisional president of Africa. Although Garvey's attempts toward repatriation and the establishment of a country in Africa failed, he created one of the largest participatory movements and causes of people of African-American ancestry in history.
On March 7, 1965, more than 600 marchers were attacked, tear-gassed, and beaten by state troopers after crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge during a peaceful march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to support voting rights and focus attention upon the unfair treatment of African-Americans. This event became known as "Bloody Sunday" and helped lay the groundwork for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The button portrayed on this page is from 2005 when over 10,000 people crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the event.
Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) was an educator who in 1904 founded the Literary and Industrial School for Training Negro Girls in Daytona Beach, Florida. The school, which began with only six girls, eventually merged with a black boys school and went on to become Bethune-Cookman School, with Bethune serving as its president for more than 30 years. Known today as Bethune-Cookman University the educational institution has over 3,600 faculty and students. Bethune was active in the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) and in 1935 founded the National Council of Negro Women which, among other things, was successful in having the Women's Army Corp incorporate African-American women as military officers during World War II. She was a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt, and served as an advisor to both President Calvin Coolidge and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The button shown here depicts the Bethune statue which was done in 1974 by the sculptor Robert Berks, and stands in Washington, D.C.'s Lincoln Park. She is shown holding a cane given to her by FDR, and the statue itself is the first in Washington erected to an African-American leader, and the first to a woman. "I Leave You Love" is from a passage in her Last Will and Testament and is engraved on the side of the work.
Kweisi Mfume (1948- ), a Democrat, was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He served as a member of the Baltimore City Council from 1979 until 1986, when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, serving in that body from 1987 through 1996. Mfume would later serve as the Chief Executive Officer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1996 to 2004. The button portrayed on this page is from his successful 1992 Congressional campaign.
Baltimore's AFRAM EXPO was initiated in 1976 and had as its purpose the celebration of African-American food, music, and arts. It also recognized African-Americans who had made contributions in business, science, medicine, education, athletics and the arts. The button portrayed here is from the 1996 AFRAM EXPO which was held at Orioles Park at Camden Yards and had as its theme the celebration of Baltimore's African-American communities. Between 1976 and 1996 the non-profit AFRAM had donated approximately $200,000 to college-bound students and city programs focusing on youth. In 2001 Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley requested that Kweisi Mfume head up an effort to revamp AFRAM which had seen declining attendance in recent years. In 2002 a new event entitled the African American Heritage Festival was established and continues to annually celebrate the rich traditions, history, culture, heritage and arts of African-Americans.
In 1998 the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act was passed. This directed the National Park Service (NPS) to research and relay "the story of resistance against the institution of slavery in the United States through escape and flight". Educating the public about the historical significance of the Underground Railroad, and the identification and preservation of sites pertaining to the Underground Railroad are among the goals. The small National Underground Railroad - Network to Freedom pin on this page was presented to those attending a 2011 presentation held in Cumberland by NPS staff.
On August 17, 2002 a "Millions for Reparations Demonstration and Protest" took place in Washington, D.C., the purpose of the rally being to seek reparations from the U.S. Government for the unpaid labor of African-American slaves. Payment would not necessarily be in the form of cash, but education, tax relief, and the availability of various resources in order for black Americans to become economically self-sufficient.
It has been only since 1964 that residents of Washington's District of Columbia have been allowed to vote in Presidential elections. The "initiative 3 - d.c. statehood" button shown above is from 1979 when a statehood initiative was voted upon by D.C. residents. The initiative was to approve legislation that began the effort to make D.C. a state. The Statehood Initiative passed in 1980 and provided for the creation of two commissions to, respectively, promote statehood for the District of Columbia and study the legal and legislative actions needed to attain this goal. A D.C. Statehood bill was finally voted upon, and defeated in 1993. In 1994 the law establishing the D.C. Statehood Commission was repealed. The city of Washington, D.C. still has no representation in the United States Senate, and only one non-voting member in the House of Representatives.
Allegany County, Maryland
African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.
Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008