The Contribution of Jamaican Americans to Preserving African American History

Black History Month is an opportunity for persons of Jamaican heritage in the DMV to learn more about this region’s African American history and the contribution of Jamaican-Americans.

With this in mind, JNA’s February 2020 Black History month program collaborated with the Jamaican Association of Maryland (JAM) and the Montgomery County Executive’s Caribbean American Advisory Group (CAAG) to focus on Maryland’s African American history.

This Program was particularly relevant since more than 29,000 Jamaican immigrants reside in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD Metropolitan Areas. It is also estimated that more than twice that number of persons born in the United states of Jamaican heritage (58,000) reside in these two metropolitan areas.

The program featured Dr. Winston Anderson of Jamaican heritage who in 1988 with his brother founded the landmark Sandy Spring Slave Museum and African Art Gallery thereby helping to preserve one of the oldest freed black communities in the DMV. Dr. Anderson saw that the history of the black community in Sandy Spring was unrecognized and decided to create a museum that would preserve its history and allow future generations to learn about its past.

Elected Officials and Special Guests in attendance included:

  • Mr. Marc Elrich, Montgomery County Executive, Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Delegate Ms. Jheanelle Wilkins, Delegate to the Maryland General Assembly
  • Mrs. Andrea Dubidad-Dixon, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Jamaica, Washington, DC
  • Atty Ambassador Curtis Ward, Former Jamaican Ambassador to UN Security Council, Past JNA President, and JNA Advisory Council Member (2020-2021); and his wife, Mrs. Sonia Ward
  • The Reverend Canon Dr. Kortright Davis, Professor of Theology, Howard University School of Divinity, and Rector Emeritus, Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, Washington, DC
  • Ms. Barbara Brissett, President, University of the West Indies Alumnae Association, DC Chapter
  • Dr. Enid Bogle, Former Professor of English, Howard University
  • Dr. Althea Belcher, President, St. Andrew Alumnae Association, Inc.
  • Dr. Goulda Downer, Associate Professor, Howard University College of Medicine, Chair Caribbean-American Political Action Committee (CPAC)
  • Dr. Franklyn Knight, Emeritus Professor of History, Johns Hopkins University, JNA Advisory Council Member (2020-2021)
  • Atty Doreen Thompson, Past JNA Vice-President, Chair, JNA Advisory Council (2020-2021)
  • Atty Richard Wilson, Past JNA President, JNA Advisory Council Member (2020-2021)
  • Ms. Jennifer Asher, Past JNA President
  • Atty Franklyn Burke, Past JNA President

We would also like to acknowledge the incredible contributions of the Planning Committee:

Jamaican Nationals Association of the Washington Metro Area (JNA-WMA)

  • Elaine V. Knight, PhD, President
  • Noel Godfrey, PhD, Vice President
  • Jennifer Wilson, Executive Secretary & Co-Chair, Cultural Heritage and Social Activities Committee
  • Delores McCoy, Recording Secretary & Co-Chair, Community Service & Development Committee
  • Jennifer Asher, Co-Chair, Student Outreach & Educational Support Committee
  • Moye Stephenson-Fairweather, Co-Chair, Cultural Heritage & Social Activities Committee
  • Beverley Thomas, Co-Chair, Cultural Heritage & Social Activities Committee
  • Doreen E. Thompson, Esq., Chair, Advisory Council

Jamaican Association of Maryland (JAM)

  • Rick Nugent, President and CEO

Montgomery Caribbean American Advisory Group (CAAG)

  • Venice Mundle-Harvey, Co-Chair
  • Derrice Deane, Co-Chair

Montgomery County Office of Community Partnerships

  • Yvonne Stephens, Caribbean American Liaison

Lastly, we would like to thank our volunteers: Ms. Lea Anderson; registration volunteers – Mrs. Yasmin Anderson-Smith and Ms. Jennifer Asher, Co-Chairs, JNA Student Outreach and Educational Support Committee; Mrs. Carol-Ann Boothe, Co-Chair, JNA Membership Committee; Mrs. Marguerite Dennis; Mr. Alanzo Donaldson (Entertainment/Music);
Ms. Camille Knight; Mr. Errol Roper; Buzz365 Media; photographer, Mr. Colin Boothe; and the entire JNA organization for their commitment and support.

Please view video of February 2020 Black History Month program and photographs here.
Video Recap:
Photo Gallery:

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