Joined by Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan, nearly 300 people celebrated the 150th anniversary of Hosanna School Museum at a banquet Friday evening at APG Federal Credit Union Arena at Harford Community College.
Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, III, president of UMBC and named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World, discussed the importance of education, in the past and today. He quoted one of his mother's favorite sayings: "Teachers touch eternity through their students."
"We cannot afford other people to define who we are," Hrabowski said. "All of us are leaders."
Sharoll Williams-Love, president of the Hosanna board of directors, presented Hrabowski with a print of Hosanna School Museum and McComas Institute to thank him for being part of the 150th anniversary celebration.
Hogan presented a citation on behalf of her husband, Gov. Larry Hogan, Jr. Vanessa Cunningham from the office of U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen was also in attendance and presented a citation on behalf of the senator.
In addition, special honors and recognition were received in advance from U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, the Maryland Senate's Harford County delegation of Wayne Norman, Robert G. Cassilly and J.B. Jennings, and County Executive Barry Glassman.
Agnes E. Minor, event chairperson, served as master of ceremonies. Iris Leigh Barnes, executive director, provided reflections. Jim Thornton, treasurer of the Hosanna board, introduced the elected officials and special guests in attendance.
Renee Johnson of Ames United Methodist Church in Bel Air performed a medley of spiritual and gospel selections. Rev. Ernest Gayles, pastor of New Beginnings Fellowship United Methodist Church in Jarrettsville provided the invocation/blessing and benediction.
Banquet donors included Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Xi Delta Omega Chapter; Harford County Government; McComas Funeral Homes; Aberdeen Proving Ground Federal Credit Union; Richard and Doris Carey; Agnes E. Minor; Anthony Collins and the Cain-Collins Family; Delmarva Power, an Exelon Company; Mt. Zion Baptist Church; Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County; Deer Creek Friends Meeting; Harford Community College; PNC Bank and Gyleen X. Fitzgerald and Ray McGowan.
Straight Up Jazz Band provided jazz music throughout the evening.
Hosanna School Museum, located in Darlington, was the first Freedmen's Bureau school in Harford County. The bureau was created by the federal government following the Civil War to supervise the education of African-American children freed from slavery.
Hosanna School, also known as the Berkley School, was used as a school,community meeting place and church. Operation of the school was assumed by the Harford County School Commissioners in 1879. Hosanna remained active as a schoolhouse for African-American children until 1945 and continued to be used as a community meeting place until the 1950s when the two-story frame building's upper floor was sheared off in a hurricane.
Significant restoration of the building began in 1983, and the second floor was rebuilt in 2005, returning it to its original structure. Today, it is a living schoolhouse museum, attracting visitors from all over the country, and also is used for community meetings and events.
It is a living schoolhouse museum, attracting visitors from all over the country. The building is also used for community meetings and events.
Proceeds from the 150th anniversary banquet will be used to continue to preserve Hosanna School Museum and to support interpretative and educational programming.
Community members and businesses interested in helping to preserve history and educate future generations about the contributions by African Americans in Harford County can donate through the website hosannaschoolmuseum.org or by sending a check (made payable to Hosanna School Museum) to P.O. Box 305, Darlington, Md. 21034.