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Educators, legislator selected for county African-American service award

Two education leaders and the speaker pro tem of the Maryland House of Delegates were named recipients of the Louis S. Diggs award for 2017, Baltimore County announced Thursday.

Freeman Hrabowski, president of University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Baltimore County Public Schools superintendent S. Dallas Dance and Del. Adrienne Jones, will be honored for their commitment to the celebration of the African-American experience in Baltimore County.

"I am immensely proud to present this year's Diggs award to three very distinguished individuals who embody the true spirit of this honor," County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said in a statement. He said the three "are outstanding leaders who make a difference in our county each and every day."

Hrabowski, who has been president of the Catonsville university since 1992, said he sees the award as a recognition for how UMBC has helped young people of all backgrounds do well.

"What it means is we will be inspired to do even more," he said.

Jones has been a delegate since 1997, representing a district that covers Reisterstown, Owings Mills, Randallstown, Milford Mill and Woodlawn. She has been speaker pro tem since 2003 and is the first African-American woman in the state to serve in that position.

"I am so honored to be the recipient of the Louis Diggs Award and I take special pride in being named during the second year of this award with my good friends Dr. Freeman Hrabowski and Dr. Dallas Dance," she said in a statement. "Louis Diggs is an excellent historian and receiving an award bearing his name makes it very distinctive."

Dance, superintendent since 2012, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Hrabowski, Dance and Jones will be recognized during a ceremony Feb. 27 at the Owings Mills branch of the Baltimore County Public Library.

The award, which is in its second year, is named for Baltimore County resident Louis S. Diggs, a respected and distinguished authority on county African-American history. Diggs' research and historical perspective has guided him to publish 10 books, organize tours in the community, present lectures and manage the Diggs-Johnson Museum in Granite, in the western portion of the county.

In its inaugural year, the award was given to Audrey Simmons and Ray Banks for their efforts in creating the Hubert V. Simmons Museum for Negro Leagues Baseball, which can be found at the Owings Mills library branch.

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