Honoring the Black Families of Eastport: Past & Present

ANNAPOLIS, MD (February 16, 2022)—The Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park (AMM) is proud to join Briayna Cuffie and the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in honoring the heritage of black families in the Eastport neighborhood of Annapolis. This event, Honoring the Black Families of Eastport: Past & Present, will take place on Sunday, February 27, 2022 from 11:30AM – 3:00PM at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church of Eastport located at 612 Second Street, Annapolis, Maryland 21403.

The history of black families spans at least 151 years – before their town was named Eastport and long before Eastport’s annexation into the City of Annapolis. Some of the earliest ancestors arrived within the first five years of Horn Point plats being sectioned off and sold in 1868. Watermen, United States Naval Academy employees, laundresses, butchers, business-owners, and more created a community within a community. From opening their own church in 1890 to serving as their descendants’ first teachers at least 20 years before Anne Arundel County provided a facility, multiple generations of the black community of Eastport have made an impact on local history.

Sixth generation descendant, Briayna Cuffie, has spent a significant portion of the last two years interviewing 4 generations of over 40 people in the Eastport community.  She discovered that black families in other areas of the City of Annapolis and the state are well-documented, but the same cannot be said for the ones of Eastport and other places nationwide. “They were the majority of residents on Second through Fifth Streets between Chesapeake and Eastern Avenue, but libraries, books, and old documents portray Eastport like the black community never existed. Local people, like my mom, aunt, and grandfather, remember so many vivid details that should be shared,” says Cuffie.

The gallery will highlight an assortment of over 20 photos from the Annapolis Maritime Museum and Maryland State Archives that span approximately 30 years – before and after Eastport was annexed into the City of Annapolis. The event will include two panels of descendants that will openly share what life was like for them and how things have changed over the decades. Excerpts from Mike Miron’s Our Eastport in The Capital Gazette will be featured and offer a glimpse into Eastport’s village within a village. As elders share their experiences, we can begin to fill the gaps and shine a light on the amazing history of our black community.

“We are excited to support Briayna’s efforts to preserve and commemorate this important heritage for the Eastport neighborhood.” said Caitlin Swaim, Curator of the AMM.

Please register for this event at: https://forms.gle/B814gQUG6B5TS7UK8

Appropriate COVID-19 precautions will be observed, including capacity restrictions and face mask requirements for all attendees.