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Jonathan Street History Presentation

Book cover featuring a woman in period clothing and a photo of historic hagerstown against a marble-textured background with program title and date

Fletcher Branch Library
Monday, December 9 @ 6 PM
100 S Potomac St
Hagerstown, MD 21740
301-739-3250 ext 168


Ten Weeks on Jonathan Street: the Legacy of 19th Century African American Hagerstown, Maryland

Over the last decade, Lynn Bowman has become an aficionado of African American history in Allegany County, Maryland. Beginning with her freshman effort, Being Black in BrownsvilleEchoes of a “forgotten” Frostburg, she has unearthed a history that most did not realize existed. In her fifth book, Ten Weeks on Jonathan Street, the Legacy of 19th Century African American Hagerstown, Maryland, she uncovers a wealth of hidden stories that may help re-write the history of Washington County. In addition to detailing the roots of the Jonathan Street Community in Hagerstown, the book explores the community’s connections to such national figures as Rev. Thomas Henry, Frederick Douglass, Gerrit Smith, John Brown and General William Birney, a central figure in the recruitment of the United States Colored Troops. Hagerstown residents will be pleased to read previously unknown details about the Moxley Band, Jacob Wheaton, Frank Wheaton, the Bethel/Ebenezer Church and more.

Allegany County’s Commissioner, Lynn Groesbeck Bowman, is a retired associate professor of English and Speech at Allegany College of Maryland. In response to the deficiencies she saw in Western Maryland’s diversity education, she began to research the area’s African American history through primary documents and first-person interviews.  Her research has led to five books: Being Black in Brownsville: Echoes of a “forgotten” Frostburg (2011), Crossing into the Promised Land: An Appalachian African American History (2012), Living the Lie: Separate but Equal in Cumberland, Maryland (2013), Everyone Counts: A history of African American enslavement in Allegany County, Maryland (2018) and Ten Weeks on Jonathan Street, the Legacy of 19th Century African American Hagerstown, Maryland.  In addition to researching and writing, Bowman also lectures regularly in Western Maryland, northern West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania.  Her first book, which details the dissolution of the Brownsville community in Frostburg for the expanding Frostburg State University, has led to the planned installation of a permanent monument to the community on campus. Another outcome of that movement has been the development of a traveling theatrical/teaching event, the Brownsville Project, through the Meta Theatre Company of New Jersey. Through Bowman’s work, local African American history has also been incorporated into the curriculum of a variety of Frostburg State University departments.

Registration is not required, but is appreciated. Copies of the book will be available for sale after the presentation.