The bureau worked with communities to establish locations for black schools, some of which were established in churches, said Dean Herrin, the acting regional historian for the National Park Service who was a guest speaker at an annual black history tribute Sunday afternoon at Memorial Recreation Center on West North Avenue.
One of the local black schools was established in an African Methodist Episcopal church at Bethel Street and Suter Avenue, Herrin said.
In 1869, the students were moved out of a lower level of the church and into a new school next door, Herrin said.
Herrin said there is still much to be learned about black history during the Civil War era and said he wanted to encourage people at Sunday’s program to attend an upcoming conference about blacks and the Civil War.
“In Search of Freedom: African-Americans and the Civil War” will be March 1 and 2 at Frederick (Md.) Community College.
Organized by the Catoctin Center for Regional Studies, the conference will feature keynote speakers James McPherson, who will discuss “Black Men in Blue: African-American Soldiers in the Civil War,” and Barbara Fields, who will give a presentation titled “Was Emancipation a War Crime?”
It was the ninth year for the black history tribute, which is organized by the Contemporary School of the Arts and Gallery. The event has been held at various locations over the years, and has included speakers and entertainment, said Ron Lytle, executive director and founder of the school.
“We try to grow it,” Lytle said.
The event falls during Black History Month, but one of the speakers, Linda Brooks, said more than a month needs to be dedicated to the subject. Brooks, who is a health and fitness expert, told about 25 people in the audience that black history deserves attention “every day, every month.”