Black History Matters

Black History Matters was designed by Michele King of Two Wheels and a Basket. This table is sponsored by Western Maryland Community Development Corporation.

This table tells the story of the historic Jonathan street community through portraits of everyday life in and around this community. The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words… “our” story is “history.” To learn the complete history of how the cabin came into the limelight, read this article from the Baltimore Sun.

The discovery came through trauma. On a wet evening, a patrolman with the Hagerstown police crashed his cruiser into 417 Jonathan St., a tiny house at the center of the city’s historic African American neighborhood. The house was condemned; its elderly owner went to live elsewhere. When the demolition crews arrived and began to rip off the vinyl siding, they saw horizontal timbers, still bearing the ax marks of the person who hewed them from tree limbs perhaps 200 years ago.

At a time when more Americans are thinking about Black history, the log cabin on Jonathan Street has become what one blogger calls “a little underdog,” capturing attention from preservationists around Maryland and beyond. This summer, a statewide preservation advocacy group based in Baltimore purchased the building with plans to bring it back to life as a residence. In Hagerstown, activists hope the refurbished old cabin will be a catalyst for change in one of the state’s oldest African American communities, a likely stop on the Underground Railroad.

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