A Generational Struggle for Racial Justice

A Generational Struggle for Racial Justice
Bordley History Center
February 4 – 28

Sumner Hall, in partnership with the Historical Society of Kent County, is featuring a display on racial justice to commemorate Black History Month. The theme of the display, A Generational Struggle for Racial Justice, depicts images from the Civil Rights Era to the modern-day Black Lives Matter movement.

The exhibit, produced by Sumner Hall, was designed by Francoise Sullivan and Gordon Wallace. Most of the images used in the display were photographed by Wallace during the Black Lives Matter marches held during summer 2020 in Chestertown. Wallace also de designed the Black Lives Matter banner that hangs on the outside of wall of Sumner Hall. The photos featured in the exhibit are poignant and depict the culmination of the generational struggle for racial equality that has plagued Chestertown for centuries.

There are several informational banners, informed by research conducted by William Leary, that highlight the remarkable contributions of African Americans in Kent County. Henry Highland Garnet, William H. Perkins and Frederick Nichols and others who promoted racial justice in Chestertown are recognized.  Another key African American leader on the front-lines for racial equality was Reverend Frederick Jones, Sr., former pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church in Chestertown. Reverend Jones was instrumental in hosting The Freedom Riders in 1962; he also allowed the church to be used as a staging area for demonstrations to desegregate local restaurants.

Most recently, the continuous quest for racial justice was seen by those who marched under the banner of the Black Lives Matter. This movement seeks to bring together black and white, young and old, rich and poor, to protest systemic racism and police violence against African Americans.  Several organizations, including The Social Action Committee for Racial Justice (SACRJ), the Black Union of Kent County,  the James Taylor Justice Coalition, and Chestertown Unites Against Racism have been formed to address racial ustice issues in Kent County.  To further support the mission of uniting against racism, the Downtown Chestertown Association (DC)has agreed to display posters of notable African Americans in storefront windows to signify unity and solidarity in support of Black History month. The DCA has also partnered with Sumner Hall by setting up Chestertown’s audio system that play music representative of the struggle for racial justice as a complement to the visual exhibit in the window of the Bordley History Center.

The exhibit is currently on display at the Historical Society of Kent County, Bordley History Center, 301 High Street, and can be viewed until February 28, 2021.