Calvert County is renowned for its part in the War of 1812, particularly the Barney Flotilla and the battles of St. Mary's. But the transfer of activity to Patuxent and Calvert Counties had a special significance for a flotilla sailor and provided a path to freedom for many enslaved people in the area. African-American businesses make up around 10% of all businesses in the United States, and in the 1960s, the Masons at Prince Hall in Calvert County were heavily involved in the civil rights movement.
In 1921, a parcel of land was purchased to become the headquarters of the first Rosenwald school in Calvert County, offering high school education to African-American students. This school, known as Prince Frederick Central Industrial School, was built on land bought by Galilean fishermen. The Fishermen of Galilee, a benevolent society, was first established in 1856 in Baltimore City, Maryland. These organizations had national governments with local lodges in many states, including Calvert County. My own family had members who were part of these groups.
During the War of 1812, approximately 4,000 enslaved African-Americans from Chesapeake found freedom by escaping the British Army, with 273 coming from Calvert County. The impact of these organizations on African-Americans in Calvert County is undeniable. They provided a platform for African-Americans to fight for their rights and gain access to education and employment opportunities that were previously unavailable to them. The Fishermen of Galilee provided financial assistance to African-Americans who were unable to pay for their education or medical care. The Masons at Prince Hall also provided legal assistance to African-Americans who were facing discrimination or unfair treatment. The legacy of these organizations is still felt today.
They have helped shape the history of Calvert County and have provided a platform for African-Americans to fight for their rights and gain access to education and employment opportunities that were previously unavailable to them. The impact of these organizations on African-Americans in Calvert County is undeniable and their legacy will continue to be felt for generations to come.