Late black historian honored

February 25, 2001

Late black historian honored

Drucella Ford

Above: Drucella Ford, center, of Hagerstown, sings during a selection by the Second Christian Church of Hagerstown choir Sunday. Music was featured at the annual Black History Month celebration at Memorial Recreation Center.

Below: Leroy Worthy, left, leads the Second Christian Church of Hagerstown choir in a selection during Sunday's Black History Month celebration.



staff photographer

Leroy Worthy

Hagerstown's black community gathered 300 strong to honor the memory of the late Marguerite "Peggy" Doleman during an evening of music, dance and prayer Sunday.


Sponsored by the Memorial Recreation Center, the event was incorporated into an annual celebration of Black History Month held at the Martin Luther King Center in Hagerstown, said Ruth Ann Monroe, center director.


Thought of by many as Washington County's unofficial black historian, Doleman founded the Doleman Black History Museum in her home in 1975. The museum showcased such artifacts as books, pictures, and a collection of bills of sale of Washington County slaves. The museum also contained a collection of quilts made by former slaves.

She died Nov. 11, 2000, at the age of 79.

Monroe said she had known Doleman for years and respected her.

Each year, the children at the Memorial Recreation Center visited Doleman's museum and always felt welcome, she said.

"She was kind and loving - always willing to help," she said.

Sunday's program started with "The Negro National Anthem," followed by a prayer by the Rev. Haru Carter Jr.

"We have a history that is rich, a history that is full of struggles. Through it all we've learned to trust in Jesus, trust in God," said Carter.

Master of Ceremonies Robert Johnson provided the audience with a brief history of the Martin Luther King Center which had been the North Street School. Black youth from throughout Washington County were bused there to be educated before integration, he said.

It was appropriate to honor Doleman during the Black History Month celebration because she was active in her church and strived to preserve black customs and tradition, said Johnson.

"She was a fine, fine lady," he said.

In her lifetime Doleman served as a member of the Western Maryland Advisory Committee, North End Senior Citizens, AARP, Executive Board of Band Boosters of North Hagerstown High School, Fair Housing Committee, North Street YMCA, Washington County Board of Health, Washington County Historical Society, Hagerstown Bi-Racial Committee, Cancer Society and Red Cross, Washington County Heart Association, Hagerstown Bicentennial Committee, North Street School PTA, Washington County League of Women Voters and Washington County Women United.

"She (Doleman) has done so much to preserve our history and the history of Washington County," said Annette Conyers, who helped with the event.

The Second Christian Church of Hagerstown choir got the audience's feet tapping and hands clapping by singing several Christian-based songs.

People were moved to their feet during a powerful solo performance by Decon Leroy Worthy, who was a member of the Second Christian Church choir.

The amount of people in attendance was overwhelming, said Monroe.

The crowd filled all 200 seats initially placed in the gymnasium and as people continued to flow into the room more chairs brought out until they ran out.

Those left standing lined the sides and back of the gym and the crowd overflowed into the entry hallways.

Following the Second Christian Church choir was a rap performance by Tyree Sterling and musical selections by the Zion Baptist Church, Asbury United Methodist Church, Ebenezer AME Church and Community Choir.

The youth of Memorial Recreation Center took part in a dramatic reading and the Campher Memorial Dancers also took the stage.

Shakira Doleman read a poem.

Peggy Doleman's daughter, Rosemary Lucas, said her mother would have loved to have attended Sunday evening's event because she enjoyed singing and was active in the Ebenezer A.M.E. Church choir.

It was a fitting tribute to her mother, she said.

"She would have been honored," said Lucas.

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