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Portrait of Harriet Elizabeth Brown to be unveiled

To the Editor:

Local residents are asked to please join Calvert County dignitaries, community leaders, friends and neighbors to celebrate the unveiling of the portrait of Harriet Elizabeth Brown Tuesday, May 23 at 1:30 p.m. at the Calvert County Court House in Prince Frederick. This event is jointly hosted by the judges of the Circuit Court of Calvert County and the Harriet Elizabeth Brown Commemoration Task Force. 

This event marks implementation of the third and final recommendation of the Harriet Elizabeth Brown Commemoration Task Force.  The new Harriet Elizabeth Brown Community Center is already up and running, and a portion of Maryland Route 2 is now officially designated as the Harriet Elizabeth Brown Memorial Parkway.  For the full Task Force Report, click here

We are grateful to the more than 70 contributors to the Harriet Elizabeth Brown Commemoration Fund, established through the Calvert Community Foundation and Chesapeake Charities, who made it possible to commission this portrait. 

The painting by distinguished Maryland portrait artist Ann Munro Wood is based on the only know photograph of Harriet Elizabeth Brown as a young woman. Ms. Brown was born in Baltimore in 1907 and passed away in 2009, just short of age 102. In 1937, with 29-year-old NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall at her side, this 30-year-old teacher sued Calvert County Public Schools for paying African-American teachers about half of what white teachers earned. Her case made history when the school system settled the case in her favor and, the very next day, Governor Harry Nice pledged to support equal teacher pay for black and white teachers. This fully launched an effort that, within a relatively short time, saw state after state (not just Maryland) equalize pay for African-American teachers.

I hope to see you at 1:30 p.m. May 23 as we unveil this luminous portrait and install it in its permanent location in the main entry room of the Calvert County Court House. 

To network with friends, old and new, be sure to arrive early and stay for light refreshments afterwards.  As a special feature, two Plum Point Middle School students, Edward Williams and Tyler Cassidy, will be on hand with their award winning History Fair Project, Taking a Stand for African-American Teachers.

Margaret Dunkle
Chair, Harriet Elizabeth Brown Commemoration Task Force

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