Black History & Culture
Frederick County's African American community have shaped the history of our region. From the fires of Catoctin Furnace to the historic district of Downtown Frederick, Black Fredericktonians have left their mark, creating a legacy that continues shaping the community today. Explore harrowing and heroic stories from Frederick's Black past and experience first-hand how African Americans are furthering a long heritage of Black business, civic, and cultural impacts in this region of Maryland.
Journey Through Frederick's Black History
Sandwiched between the Mason-Dixon line in the north and the Potomac River at the south, Frederick County was located on the perilous border between North and South. Slavery took root in Frederick County in colonial times, where owners of farms, plantations, and even iron furnaces benefitted from the toil of enslaved workers. Frederick's close-ties with Pennsylvania ensured, however, that a sizable free Black population called Frederick County home.
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Frederick County experienced the tramp of armies, the shot and shell of battle, and the sufferings of the wounded. Black residents assisted in the hospitals and volunteered to serve in the United States Army. The Civil War's aftermath brought a new birth of freedom to Frederick County, and in its wake African Americans opened schools, churches, and built entirely new communities.
In the century and a half since emancipation, Frederick's Black community has faced adversity with grace and perseverance. Despite Jim Crow and segregation in the early 20th century, African American innovators and change-makers shaped their community. Local leaders brought the civil rights movement to Frederick, ushering in an era of increasing inclusivity and opportunity.