Remembering Kent County’s African American Civil War Soldiers on Memorial Day

May 31, 2010, Chestertown, MD. — On this Decoration Day in a small graveyard outside of Chestertown it was a time to remember veterans of the civil war with graveside services.  Re-enactors portraying the “United States Colored Troops” (USCT) marched into Jane’s Church Cemetery early on the warm Monday while gospel songs filled the morning air.  Over by a worn white federally issued tombstone etched with the letters USCT a soldier stood at attention as an officer made remarks to the crowd.  Once the minister concluded with a final prayer the troop filed out to Quaker Neck Road.  The company, headed by two Civil War Officers in a horse and buggy, paraded to the Chester Cemetery to pay respects there.

This special event, sponsored by the African American Heritage Council of Kent County, honored these veterans and educated the public about the USCT.  After the Civil War members of Chestertown’s Grand Army of the Republic Charles Sumner Post faithfully carried out the solemn duty of decorating graves for almost fifty years.  Each May 30th the veterans donned their GAR uniforms and headed a parade that included the Women’s Relief Corps, The Calvert Coronet and Oriental Band, several wagons decorated with evergreens and a large number of children.  The last veteran of the Sumner post died in 1930.

The African American heritage Council of Kent County, Maryland was founded in 1994 under the leadership of Karen Somerville.  The organization focuses on creating cultural awareness and esteem for the rich heritage and contribution of Blacks in Kent County.  The organization is to be congratulated for the excellent programming it is offering as it focuses on this mission.

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5 Responses to Remembering Kent County’s African American Civil War Soldiers on Memorial Day

  1. Publius says:

    This is a wonderful way to honor those who fought to both unite our nation and free people of color from the bonds of slavery. Congratulations to the African American Heritage Council of Kent County for its efforts to tell the story of the USCTs in Kent County, Maryland. Maybe next year a similar celebration can be held in Cecil County where between 200 and 400 African Americans answered their nation’s delayed call to arms between 1863 and 1865.

    • Mike says:

      The African-American Heritage Council of Kent County is doing an excellent job focusing on its identified mission. This was a great program. They’re also working on an old schoolhouse museum and a number of other things. It’s great to see such careful stewardship with a nonprofit, which is carefully carrying out it mission.

  2. Pingback: Monuments to the United States Colored Troops (USCT): The List « Jubilo! The Emancipation Century

  3. Robert says:

    I am happy that you shared this helpful information with us. Thank you.

  4. Mike Dixon says:

    Robert thanks so much. We’re pleased that you and other readers finding these posts to be valuable. Surf back over this way often.

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