The St. Mary’s County Commissioners have unanimously approved naming the monument in Freedom Park in Lexington Park after a prominent citizen. On Tuesday the commissioners agreed to name the monument the “Elmer Brown African American Monument.”
Among his many accomplishments, Brown was founder of the Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions (UCAC), which was responsible for erecting the monument. On the UCAC website, http://www.ucaconline.org/ ,the following description of the monument is presented: “Dedicated on July 29, 2000, the monument recognizes the important contributions of African Americans in the following areas: religion, farming, trades, domestic service, education, business, industry, community service, arts, entertainment, health, sports, government, politics, law enforcement, military service, and technology. The African American Monument is located at the corner of Rte. 235 and Tulagi Place in Lexington Park, MD.”
In a letter to the commissioners in support of the naming, Elmer Brown’s son Mike said, “Mr. Brown and UCAC realized the dream of an African-American monument at its dedication on July 29, 2000 in Freedom Park in Lexington Park. The monument is constructed of rough stone in a pyramid shape, because said, Mr. brown, ‘The stones and the shape of the monument represent the difficult struggle of blacks climbing the rough side of the mountain to get to the other side’.”
Brown was also one of the founders of the highly successful annual Juneteenth celebration at Freedom Park. It is anticipated that a formal dedication of the park monument in Brown’s honor will take place at this year’s Juneteenth celebration.
Elmer Brown’s contributions to the community were life-long. In the letter to the commissioners, it was stated: “One of Elmer Brown’s greatest gifts is his insight into the motivation of a community of people. He recognized that how the people of a community perceive themselves is influenced and molded by their surroundings. Evidence of this awareness began when as a youth he’d organize his neighborhood friends to pick up litter on the street where they lived.”
Brown worked for the St. Mary’s County Housing Authority from 1974 to 1984. He noticed that the young people in Tubman-Douglas Estates (off Chancellor’s Run Road) had nothing to do to keep them occupied. He established the Sail-to-Life program in which, with the assistance of St. Mary’s College, the children were taught water safety and how to swim and sail.
While at Tubman-Douglass Estates he led community groups on general house maintenance skills.