In 1961, the Civil Rights Movement appeared in Cambridge, Maryland by way of the Freedom Riders. Cambridge was thoroughly segregated and at the time, the unemployment rate was more than 40%. Gloria Richardson’s teenage daughter, Donna, became involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s effort to desegregate public accommodations.
While Gloria was interested in the cause, she was not committed to some of their fundamentals. When the SNCC-led protests faltered in 1962, Gloria and other parents created the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee (CNAC) which became the only adult-led SNCC affiliate in the civil rights organization’s history. CNAC enlarged the scope of grievances to include housing and employment discrimination and inadequate health care. Richardson was selected to lead CNAC.
This Richardson-led effort differed from most other civil rights campaigns of the era. It took place in a border state rather than the Deep South. It addressed a much wider array of issues rather than the one or two that motivated other campaigns.
Protests and civil unrest in 1963, prompted Maryland Governor J. Millard Tawes to send in the Maryland National Guard. The Guard remained in the city, which was effectively under martial law, for over a year. The Cambridge Movement also drew the attention of U.S. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy who attempted to broker an agreement between Cambridge’s white political leaders and Richardson’s CNAC.
In 2018, 55 years after she left Cambridge, Maryland, Gloria returned to be celebrated as one of the most iconic women of the 20th century.
2018 Maryland Preservation Award for Excellence in Community Engagement
Dion Banks, Kisha Petticolas & Mayor Victoria Jackson - Travels to Ethiopia to Share our Towns Story
In February 2018, for Black History Month, the Embassy sponsored three speakers from the US, specifically from the Eastern Shore Network for Change, to visit Ethiopia for a week “to heal history and promote constructive change, an outreach to the next generation of Ethiopian leaders.” The folks from the Eastern Shore (MD) organization spoke at Addis Ababa University, the African Union, the Nativity Girls’ School, the Jesuit Refugee Center, and St. Mary’s University. They held a roundtable with the Ethiopian Women’s Journalists Association, and did live broadcasts on Facebook that reached some 11,000 people. They went to a reception at the US Ambassador’s home.
There are a number of prominent figures in the American Civil Rights Movement – household names like Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – but the reality is the change that came to America also was the result of the work of many people at all levels of society, who advocated, organized, and brought change at the community level. In light of our visiting guests from Cambridge MD, we want to share this short video about Gloria Richardson, a Cambridge native who led the push for change in that town and a hero of the Civil Rights Movement. We look forward to hearing what you think.
U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa
See the interview below in Ethiopia on a major network with Mayor Jackson-Stanley, Dion Banks & Kisha Petticolas
P.R. & MEDIA
REFLECTIONS ON PINE
Espousing faith, hope, and possibilities, “Reflections on Pine” events marked the 50th anniversary of civil unrest in Cambridge Maryland following decades of economic and educational segregation. In July of 2017, people came from all over the country for a series of events commemorating fifty years of civil rights, change, and community.
With the spotlight on race relations and tensions nationally, we realized Cambridge would be at the forefront of national Civil Rights coverage. We took this opportunity to reclaim our narrative and change the perceptions and perspectives of our community. The purpose of the 4-day events was to provide the community with an opportunity to openly discuss and learn about what occurred over 50 years ago. Similarly; to how other cities in the South have come together to create commemorations such as Birmingham, AL on the civil rights movement, we envision our city to become a tourist destination event.
ESNC intends to use our platform as another opportunity to bring together segments of the community that generally do not mix and create events that will enlighten as well as heal.
ESNC will raise awareness of issues in Dorchester County and creatively work with the community to inform, educate, and foster change that leads to social and economic empowerment.
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ESNC PRESENTS - 2017
Reflections on Pine: Cambridge commemorates the civil rights movement, community, and change."
During July 22-23, 2017 we will feature walking tours, art exhibits, book readings, a gala dinner, prayer breakfast, and more. Details will follow in the coming months. The summer of 1967 was the height of Civil Rights Movement in Cambridge, Maryland. On the evening of July 24, 1967, tensions erupted on Pine Street, the heart of the African-American community. The effects from this night changed the dynamics of the local community and its residents forever.
Enjoy One of Our Podcasts below:
Sep 30th, 2018
In this episode entitled, "I'm Not Gonna Let Anyone Turn Me Around", we pay homage to Gloria Richardson Dandridge, nationally known Civil Rights Leader of the movement in Cambridge, Maryland.
State Declares Feb. 11 Gloria Richardson Day At
ESNC Black History Program
CAMBRIDGE — Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford celebrated Black History Month in Cambridge Saturday, and presented a proclamation to civil rights leader Gloria Richardson, declaring Feb. 11 Gloria Richardson Day in Maryland.
Richardson, 94, a Cambridge native, now lives in New York and was unable to attend the ceremony at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in person due to a snowstorm. The snow did not stop Richardson from being part of the ceremony as Rutherford was able to present the proclamation from Gov. Larry Hogan to her in front of a large-screen TV via Skype.
She is credited with leading civil rights demonstrations in Cambridge during the 1960s with a nonviolent approach, focusing on public accommodations and continuing the cause with other activists in the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee when segregation remained in the city.
“Maryland recognizes the courageous leadership and commitment of Gloria H. Richardson during the civil rights moment of the 1960s,” Rutherford said. “During a time of racial segregation, Gloria H. Richardson became one of the strongest advocates for economic rights, as well as desegregation.
Maryland is proud to join in honoring Gloria H. Richardson for her contributions in the fight to achieve racial equality during a defining era of our nation’s struggle for civil rights for all.” Richardson thanked the standing-room-only crowd at the church.
“I think this is fantastic that you all put this together,” she said. “It may not be perfect in Cambridge, but there is a big difference from back then when I came along.”
Richardson also thanked all the people who joined her during the civil rights protests back in the 1960s. She said none of the changes today would have been possible without people coming together back then.
Cambridge was part of the “Chitlin’ Circuit,” a circuit of nightclubs and theaters that African-American performers traveled during segregation.
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ON March 2017, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center opened to the public and immersed visitors in Tubman's world through exhibits that are informative, evocative and emotive. We encourage you to visit.
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