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Havre de Grace Colored School Foundation leader to be honored with MLK award

Chairman of the Havre de Grace Colored School Foundation Patricia Cole, front row center, will be honored Friday with the MLK Foundation of Maryland Award for efforts with the former school.
Chairman of the Havre de Grace Colored School Foundation Patricia Cole, front row center, will be honored Friday with the MLK Foundation of Maryland Award for efforts with the former school. (Record file photo)

The leader of the Havre de Grace Colored School Foundation, which last year bought the former school building, will be honored Friday with one of 10 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards.

Patricia Cole, whose father attended the school, will receive Alan Hilliard Legum Civil Rights Award at the 31st annual banquet Friday at 6 p.m. at La Fountaine Bleue in Glen Burnie. A highlight of the program will be the world premiere of the Martin Luther King Jr. documentary film “The Dream Revisited, Civil Rights in Perspective,” directed by Charles and May Love.

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It kicks off a weekend honoring the late civil rights leader that includes a multi-faith gathering Sunday, a national observance and a prayer breakfast on Monday and a call for more participation in community service.

St. James AME Church, Masjid Al Falaah and Temple Adas Shalom will bring together all faiths for Abrahamic Faiths and Social Change: Celebrating the Values of Martin Luther King Jr., from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at St. James AME Church, 617 Green S., Havre de Grace, for fellowship, values clarification and advocacy.

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The Havre de Grace Colored School Foundation has completed its acquisition of the former school building on Alliance Street.

On Monday, the Harford County branch of the NAACP and Black Youth in Action will host a Martin Luther King celebration and NAACP membership drive with a breakfast from 8:15 to 9:45 a.m. and a service from 10 a.m. to noon at Havre de Grace United Methodist Church, 101 S. Union Ave. The cost is $10 (ages 5 to 12 are $5).

Len Parrish, director of community and economic development for the county, will be speaking on the theme “Facing the Challenge of a New Age Today 2019.”

Harford County Barry Glassman supports the notion that Martin Luther King Day should “not be a day off, but be a day on” and encourages county employees to take part in community service.

“In that spirit and in the spirit of Dr. King, the county implemented a program in 2016 encouraging county employees to volunteer at a local nonprofit,” said Cindy Mumby, a spokesperson for Harford County government.

While Dr. King’s birthday is observed on Monday, rather than confine the community service to a single day, Glassman will allow staff to participate in a volunteer activity from the end of January to the end of March, Mumby said.

Chairman of the Havre de Grace Colored School Foundation Patricia Cole, standing with Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, will receive the Alan Hilliard Legum Civil Rights Award at the
Chairman of the Havre de Grace Colored School Foundation Patricia Cole, standing with Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, will receive the Alan Hilliard Legum Civil Rights Award at the (Bobby Parker for The Aegis / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Many employees will participate in Project Homeless Connect on Jan. 24, when the United Way of Central Maryland and the county will host a workshop for people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

“It brings together a vast array of resources in one location to serve these folks and connect them with the community,” Mumby said.

Volunteers can work with any number of non-profits in Harford, such as SARC or a local food pantry.

For employees — or anyone else in the county who wants to volunteer — and aren’t connected to a non-profit, the county had a list of groups and organizations that includes what they do and what their needs are, Mumby said. They can be found at http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/735/Volunteer-Harford.

“To spread the idea, the county executive invites all citizens of Harford County to find a cause or non-profit they’re passionate about and give some time,” Mumby said.

Since 2016 when the program was implemented, county employees have volunteered 2,300 hours, she said.

“We are of the community, in the community, we care about our community, so this was a terrific opportunity, in addition to the work we do every day, to give back to our community in other ways,” Mumby said.

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Glassman has also done promotional videos about Black History Month in recent years about the Hosanna School and an underground railroad site, both in Darlington. This year’s video will focus on the Havre de Grace Colored School.

The building was recently bought by the Havre de Grace Colored School Foundation, led by Cole.

Cole has a federal service career spanning more than 35 years. After graduating from Morgan State University, she served as an Army officer in the Military Intelligence Corps, retiring in 2011 as a colonel. Upon her retirement, Cole began a second career as a Department of the Army civilian working as an investigator for the Army Inspector General.

An active volunteer and advocate for social and community causes, Cole became a board member of Hosanna School Museum in 2014, and, in 2016, assumed the role as board chairman for the Havre De Grace Colored School Foundation. Her advocacy for social change is exemplified as a life member of the Morgan State Alumni Association and her memberships in the in the Morgan State University Northern Virginia Alumni Chapter, and other professional organizations.

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