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Local retiree in documentary on sharecropper life [West Friendship]

Charles Jackson, of West Friendship, a retired U.S. Customs inspector, along with his sister Shirley Jackson, of Cambridge, were among those honored during a tribute at the Banneker Historic Park and Museum in Oella on July 26.

The Jackson siblings are chief interviewees in a video about the lives of African-American sharecroppers on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The film entitled "Voices of Indiantown" was produced by the Nanticoke Historic Preservation Alliance.

The powerful and historically informative film offers a glimpse into some of the lives of descendants of former enslaved and free African Americans who resided at the Handsell Plantation in the 20th century on Indiantown Road near Vienna, Dorchester County.

The interviewees stories are both inspiring and informative about this former way of life in the days before integration. The theme throughout the film, in which the Jackson siblings are interviewed, is one of strength and love of family. Hard work, a high regard for education, respect of family, faith in the church and living a rich life of family love were the recurring sentiments by those interviewed.

A stirring film and a powerful family depicted in "Voices of Indiantown". If you are interested in learning more about this period of history on Maryland's eastern shore, go to the website at http://www.restorehandsell.org. The Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum is at 300 Oella Ave.

When I moseyed into the gift shop at the Banneker Museum I was delighted to see local West Friendship artist Shyami Codippily Murphy's book "Farms Never to be Forgotten" on display. Shyami's art cards are for sale there also.

Serendipity for sure that I should see those items, as I had just heard from the artist-athlete with news of her recent accomplishments. Murphy competed in the National Power lifting Championships in Colorado in mid-July and she came home with a Gold and a Bronze medal. Murphy won gold for her age category and bronze across all age groups in the 103-pound weight class.

"I even beat out the gal who had just returned with a silver medal from the 2014 World Championship, which was held in South Africa," beamed Murphy. "Actually, my husband Scott gets my Gold for award winning coaching."

Don't forget the West Friendship Elementary Kindergarten Parent Orientation on Aug. 21, 3 to 4 p.m. Principal Aaron Tark and Assistant Principal Ann Steger will also greet students during an open house on Aug. 22, 2:45 to 3:30 p.m.

Hare Raiser 4-H Club member Rebecca Miller has been steady in her reporting of all things 4-H this summer. But Rebecca has a bit of melancholy over the late June death of a beloved Glenelg High School counselor, Rodney Williams.

"Mr. Williams was a generous man that lived life to the fullest," said Miller. "He was a role model and a mentor to thousands of students during his 18 years at Glenelg High."

To honor the teacher who so impacted her life, Miller has a hope that anyone who knew Mr. Williams, will extend an act of kindness daily towards others. As a way of honoring Williams, Rebecca and her family have paid for the meal of an elderly couple whom they observed while dining out. The Miller's have paid the toll for the car behind them just before crossing the Bay Bridge. A few of the gestures the Miller family have extended include opening the door for shoppers at Columbia mall, saying hello to strangers as they pass by, helping a busy parent with her shopping cart. "We call this 'Doing a Rodney,' " said Miller.

The West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary is collecting pantry supplies for local food banks as part of the organization's Community Outreach Program. The greatest needs include paper towels, toilet paper and small-sized liquid laundry detergent. Items may be dropped off at the front entrance of Station 3, Routes 32 and 99, up until Sept. 10. The supplies will be delivered to West Liberty United Methodist Church for distribution in September.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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