Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman announced the launch of an oral history virtual tour of the Civil Rights Era in Anne Arundel County. The virtual tour, completed by Anne Arundel County’s Cultural Resources Section in partnership with local historians, can be found at www.aacounty.org/civil-rights-era.
The new site features more than 50 oral history interviews collected from residents across the county, and is presented as a tour of local places, people, and everyday experiences during a time of segregation. It documents spaces of leisure and recreation, where people of color could gather and enjoy solidarity and empowerment; places like stores, ballfields, beaches, juke joints, movie theaters, beauty salons and barber shops.
The project began in 2017 with funding from the National Park Service’s Civil Rights Grants Program. A team of historians from Anne Arundel County in partnership with the nonprofit Lost Towns Project worked with citizens who generously shared memories of what life was like during segregation, and uncovered their compelling stories of injustice, resistance, and sacrifice, perseverance and triumph.
The project has also resulted in a ground-breaking partnership between Anne Arundel County and the Maryland State Archives. The Archives has established a dedicated Special Collection where the full length oral history footage and transcriptions are to be housed in perpetuity, and can be found at Maryland State Archives – Guide to Government Records.