More than 250 tickets sold for Doleman Black Heritage Museum's fourth annual Fall Fundraiser

November 12, 2011|By DAN DEARTH |
  • Alecia Parson-McBean shows one of the mobile exhibits that was unveiled at a fundraiser at Cortlandt Mansion for the Doleman Black Heritage Museum.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

The family and friends of the late Marguerite Doleman, who founded and operated an African-American museum in her North Locust Street home, turned out by the hundreds Saturday night to support finding a permanent site for the artifacts that took her more than a quarter of a century to accumulate.

The Doleman Black Heritage Museum's fourth annual Fall Fundraiser — A Masquerade Ball with a Cotton Club Twist — was held at Cortland Mansion in the north end of Hagerstown. More than 250 tickets were sold for the event.

Alesia Parson-McBean, a representative of the Doleman Black Heritage Museum, said before the night began that she was confident the fundraiser would exceed its $5,000 goal.

"Our goal is to fund a temporary site so we can plan for a permanent site," Parson-McBean said. "We're at the point where we're trying to get everything into a temporary gallery ... where people can come in and enjoy what we have to offer."

Parson-McBean said organizers have a temporary site in mind in downtown Hagerstown. If everything goes well, organizers would like to move in early next year. She said the permanent site most likely will be located in the historic black district of Jonathan Street.

Marguerite Doleman died in 2000 at the age of 79. Over the course of her life, she amassed more than 4,000 items, including deeds of slave sales, mid-19th-century quilts that former slaves made to commemorate their freedom and more than 100 buttons that portray civil rights leaders from Malcolm X to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Parson-McBean thanked local, state and federal legislators for helping to gain financial support for the project. She also praised private donors, including Adna Fulton and Lee Stine, who combined gave $25,000.

"Those are the ones who propelled us to the next level," Parson-McBean said.

According to a museum timeline that was distributed at the fundraiser, organizers have generated more than $270,000 toward the project since 2008.

Parson-McBean said they'll need much more than that, however. She said the temporary museum site is estimated to cost at least $150,000 per year after it opens, and the conception of the permanent site will cost more than $3 million.

Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, said at the fundraiser that the Doleman project was important because it represents a huge part of Washington County's history from before the Civil War to recent times.

"It's important that we recognize that and take care of its preservation," he said.

Rosemary Doleman-Lucas, Marguerite Doleman's daughter, said she was honored that so many people paid $50 per ticket to keep her mother's legacy alive.

"I think it's wonderful. We need all the support," she said. "I'm glad people are interested to move things along. Hopefully, we'll get the building soon."

Cathy Parson, former head women's basketball coach at Howard University and Parson-McBean's sister, was the night's keynote speaker. 

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