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Doleman Black Heritage Museum Celebration of Black History a family affair

February 23, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com
  • The Bowie State University Gospel Choir performed Saturday afternoon during the 4th Doleman Black Heritage Museum Celebration of Black History held at The Maryland Theatre.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

The 4th Doleman Black Heritage Museum Celebration of Black History on Saturday at The Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown was a bit of a family affair for the Parsons.

Cathy Parson and her brother, Tom Parson, were among those honored at the event for their respective inductions in the Washington County and Hagerstown Community College halls of fame.

And their sister, Alesia Parson-McBean, organized the music-filled celebration of Black History Month, which was headlined by the Bowie State University Gospel Choir. More than 100 people turned out for the celebration, which Parson-McBean estimated has raised more $3,000 in the first three years. The theater and the heritage museum divide the proceeds 50-50, she said.

The Parson siblings, along with Steve Stone, Earl Stoner, Kimberly Saunders, Tia Ferguson, Vennece Fowlkes, Leon Brumback, Earl Stoner, Rodney Monroe and Thomas Cross, were honored for their Hall of Fame induction.

Those honored were presented with a framed poster that depicts the historically black Jonathan Street community in 1964 and asked to contribute items from their past success to the Doleman Black Heritage Museum project.

“It’s just a total honor - how much better does it get,” said Tom Parson, who was inducted in the HCC Hall of Fame in 2010 for his basketball career in the early 1970s.

A video montage recognized the honorees’ accomplishments while in Hagerstown and elsewhere.

“This is incredible,” said Cathy Parson of the hometown recognition.

A three-time Washington County girls basketball player of the year at North Hagerstown High School, Cathy Parson went on to have a Hall of Fame career at West Virginia University. She was the first woman to be inducted into the school’s sports hall of fame in 1996 and still  holds the WVU career scoring record.

“That’s the dream job that you really want,” Parson said of her interest to coach at her college alma mater.

Parson coached the WNBA’s Washington Mystics for one season and later coached at Howard University.

Parson, 51, said she is currently in the community college leadership doctoral program at Morgan State University, but hopes to coach again.

In addition to those honored for their past success, Parson-McBean also recognized the City of Hagerstown and the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau for being event sponsors.

Hagerstown Mayor David S. Gysberts, who took part in the recognition of the hall of fame inductees, saluted the importance of the celebration, adding that the city’s diversity is a “strength” for the community and that he was honored to serve all of the city’s residents.

Tom Riford, who heads the county’s Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the organization is supportive of efforts to preserve community history, particularly the Doleman Black museum effort.

“We understand the importance of heritage tourism,” Riford said.

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Editor's note: This story was changed at 8:15 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2013 to correct an error about the status of an honoree inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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