Sumner Hall Veterans Project

Veterans of the uniformed armed services are the visible evidence of the power of the American dream.  They have been rightly honored since the founding of the county and stand tall in the memories of their families and communities.

Since the earliest call to arms, African Americans from Kent County, Maryland, have served. It is the honor and responsibility of Sumner Hall to identify and recognize these local heroes.

To date, researchers have identified more than 1,000 veterans who have served in the Civil War, World War One and World War Two.  Additional studies are under way to recognize those who have served in more recent years.

We invite the community to contact us with the names of additional veterans so that we can have add them to our honor roll.

What is the purpose of the Sumner Hall Veterans’ Project?
Sumner Hall Veteran’s Project is a part of the larger Chesapeake Heartland project. Sumner Hall has identified goals to achieve throughout this active project which are:
• To build relationships with African American Veterans in Kent County

• To teach the history of African American Veterans by making materials accessible through the Chesapeake Heartland Project

• To provide events and programs to engage Veterans and community members

What is Chesapeake Heartland?
Chesapeake Heartland is a collaboration between the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), Washington College, and a diverse array of local organizations including Sumner Hall, Kent Cultural Alliance, and Kent County Public Library. Its mission is to preserve, digitize, interpret, and make accessible materials related to African American history and culture in Kent County, MD, and beyond.

Why now?
Sumner Hall was built by African American Veterans from Kent County. Sumner Hall is a place of remembrance. We are determined not only to preserve the past but to continue honoring the many contributions of all African American Veterans from Kent County.

What are Chesapeake Heartland’s Community-Identified Goals?
Over the past three years, the Chesapeake Heartland researchers and historians asked hundreds of community members how to make this collaboration meaningful and they have consistently said the project should: 1) create platforms for community interpretation; 2) strengthen local schools and nonprofits; 3) foster cross-generational and interracial conversation; 4) engage, employ, and train local teenagers; 5) document life’s more joyous experiences along with injustice and activism.

Explore the digital archive:

Learn more about African American Veterans from Kent County: