Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions 

MAKE A DONATION :   African American Contributions     Maryland Juneteenth       UCAC

Follow us on YouTube

View UCAC Channel (click here)

Transcribed Oral Histories of African American Citizens of

St. Mary's County, Maryland

The Oral Histories collected and transcribed by the Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions are archived within the SlackWater Archives of St. Mary's College of Maryland.  The list below contains transcripts from both St. Mary's College of Maryland and UCAC interviews. If you would like to obtain an oral history contact Slackwater Archives of St. Mary's College of Maryland to the Attn. of Kent Randell.

Current Stats: 175+ Oral Histories

The History and Research Committee oversees this website and utilizes this forum to organize and present its work. Published work will change and grow over time, so check back often. 

Examining the history of African-American life in St. Mary's County is a little like examining the lines etched deeply into a person's face or hands: much is suggested, but how much is really known without serious probing, research, and questioning?

There is, for example, Sotterley Plantation where any visitor can step inside slave quarters and learn about the lives its inhabitants led. But that is only a small part of the overall story. What lies beyond the plantation, both in geography and time?

Picture this: Georgia Milburn, six years old, wading through the flood waters of 1933 on St. George Island.

Picture this: Philip Scriber, working for a rescue squad in 1964, rushing to the scene of an emergency call only to be turned away because his skin is black and the patient’s is white.

Reaching Out to America to Recognize and Record African American History 

"If you don't know your history, you're destined to live it again.  People made great sacrifices for this country to be where it is today.  And, it's a universal sacrifice on both sides of the fence.  But unfortunately, our history has reflected more of one side than the other.  People need to understand the contributions that have been made to make this country what it is."  ~ Alonzo Gaskin

​If your story is short and sweet, please feel free to use the simple form below.  If you'd like to send your story via Word doc, pdf or email, or if you'd like to speak with someone about doing an oral history interview, please contact us.

Collecting Oral Histories

Oral Histories

Standing: Edward Smith, Joe Lee Somerville, Viola Gardner, Ruth Portee, Richard Portee; Sitting: George Chase, Purnell Frederick, Grace Blackwell, Guffrie Smith, Everlyn Holland, Bobby Gant, Carrie Glascoe, Mary Somerville, Catherine Thompson
Photo courtesy of Celia Escudero-Espadas

A FEW EXAMPLE Video Oral Histories of African American Citizens of St. Mary's County, Maryland

Salvatore Raspa
Ethel W. Reed
Harry Linwood Reed
Sophia Reed
Lindsey Wilson Reid, Sr

Thomas Purnell Saxon
Joseph "Spencer" Scriber - 1999
Joseph "Spencer" Scriber - 2004
Philip H. Scriber, Sr - 1993
Philip H. Scriber, Sr - 1996
Zora M. Siemasko - w/Jane Sypher
Clarence Carroll Smith
Edward Allen Smith, Sr - 1996
Edward Allen Smith, Sr - 2004
Esther L. Smith
Guffrie Matthew Smith, Jr
Guffrie Matthew Smith, Sr - 1987
Guffrie Matthew Smith, Sr - 1999
Mabel E. Smith
Marie C. Smith
Mary Smith
James A. Somerville - w/Vincena Dickerson & Mildred Gross
Joseph Lee Somerville, Sr
Mary Somerville - Part 1
Mary Somerville - Part 2
Jane Sypher - w/Zora Siemasko

Fred Harold Talbert - 1991
Fred Harold Talbert - 1998
Fred Talbert - w/George Grymes
Alice Thomas
Joseph Ogden Thomas - 1991
Joseph Ogden Thomas - 1998
Ann E. Thompson
Leroy J. Thompson, Jr
Leroy J. Thompson, Sr
Catherine Delores Thompson
Mary Elnetta George Toon
Catherine Naomi Travers

Elizabeth A. Walker - 1993
Elizabeth A. Walker - 1999
Elizabeth A. Walker - 2007
Janice Talbert Walthour
Mary Louise Webb - w/Charles B. Briscoe
Lewis Clifton Whalen
Laurice M. White
Sarah Ann White

Clarence Leo Young, Sr
Mary Agnes Young
Nannie Theresa Young

Dottie Gant
Evelyn Gant
Robert Belamine Gant, Sr
Viola M. Gardner - 1996
Viola M. Gardner - 2006
Viola M. Gardner - 2007 1st
Viola M. Gardner - 2007 2nd
Elvare Gaskin
John William Alonzo Gaskin
Carrie Glascoe
Mary Annabel Greenwell
Mildred A. Gross - w/Vincena Dickerson & James Somerville
George Grymes - 1991
George Grymes - w/Fred Talbert
George Grymes - 1997
George Grymes - w/Lovell Grymes
Lovell Grymes - w/George Grymes

Emma V. Hall
Tyrone Harris
Mary Elizabeth Herbert
Harold T. Herndon
Mary Bernadette Gough Hewlett
Sarah Evelyn Hewlett
Everlyn Louise Holland - 1st
Everlyn Louise Holland - 2nd
Everlyn Louise Holland - 3rd
Josephine Matilda Biscoe Holley
Helene A. Holt - w/John Henry Armstrong
Hortense Gant Hubbard

Joseph Johnson Kelly, Jr
Charles Herbert Knott

Albertine Thomas Lancaster
John Graham Lancaster
Mary Margaret Langley
Florence Lanham
Joseph Aloysius Lawrence "Sonny"

Elmer Mackall
Angela Marie Maddox 
Elfreda Talbert Mathis - 1991
Elfreda Talbert Mathis - 2004
Edna Middleton
Georgia Marie Barnes Milburn

James Walter Neal
Stuart Wayne Newkirk
Theodore Newkirk - 2003
Theodore Newkirk - 2007

Donald O'Neal

Edith Dyson Parker
Richard Gray Portee - 1987
Richard Gray Portee - 2003
Ruth Elizabeth Portee
James M. Posey
Sandy Posey
Mary Jeannette Price

These glimpses suggest just how much more there is to the history and culture of African Americans in St. Mary's County than most residents might realize. As witnesses to portions of that history, the above individuals, in addition to many more, link the present day county vividly with its past.

The Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions (UCAC), has taken on the task of ensuring that these glimpses are not forgotten.  That they are fleshed out, put in context, and brought to the attention of the community for its own examination, enjoyment, and education. Toward that end the committee began collecting oral histories that shed light on how life has been experienced over the years, with the goal of transcribing and publishing these histories in a book. In 2006, that goal was realized with "In Relentless Pursuit of An Education."

Visit our store to purchase "In Relentless Pursuit of an Education: African American Stories from a Century of Secregation (1865 - 1967) Individuals interested in helping with the continuing program of collecting oral histories should go to the membership page to obtain more information.

The Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions (UCAC), uses a Guide for Transcriptions which you can obtain for real life history for your educational purposes. Every interview requires the informant to sign a release form. You may obtain by contacting St. Mary's College of Maryland.

The St. Mary's County Historical Society has published a Research Guide to African-American Genealogical Resources, which is in pdf format and can be downloaded from their web site (25 KB): African-American Research Guide

Reprinting of any oral history material from this site requires permission from our Oral History Committee. Submitted requests are reviewed promptly.


John Henry Armstrong - w/Helene A. Holt

Donald M. Barber
Sylvester Barnes
Alice Rebecca Bennett - 1991
Alice Rebecca Bennett - 1996
Alice Rebecca Bennett - 2002
Bessie C. Biscoe
Calvert William Biscoe
Nicolas Vincent Biscoe
Agnes Geneva Blackwell
Grace Cecelia Blackwell
Charles B. Briscoe - w/Mary Louise Webb
Ida Delores Briscoe
Joan Elaine Briscoe - 2004
Joan Elaine Briscoe - 2007
Sarah Briscoe
Rudy Carnell Brooks
Elmer Jefferson Brown - 2000
Elmer Jefferson Brown - 2002
James Solomon Brown - 2002
James Solomon Brown - 2005
Eva C. Butler
Ralph Ignatius Butler, Sr
Sarah Evelyn Mason Butler

James Nathaniel Caldwell
Agnes Genevieve Carter
Ola Mae Carter - 1997
Ola Mae Carter - 2003
Theresa Smith Cassagnol
Howard Randolph Chase
Betty J. Clayton
Floyd E. Clayton, Sr
Ralph Clayton
Catherine Brenda Coates
James Melvin Coates
Annie Curtis
Joseph Mason Curtis
Viola Cutchember

Mary C. Dickerson - w/Joseph W Dickerson, Sr
James W. Diggs
Joseph W. Dickerson, Sr - w/Mary C. Dickerson
Vincena S. Dickerson - w/Mildred Gross & James Somerville
Francine Dove-Hawkins
Edwin L. Dukes
Beverly Watts Dyson
Ernest Webster Dyson - 1987
Ernest Webster Dyson - 1991
Ernest Webster Dyson - 1994

Helen Louise Fenwick
Mary Louise Barnes Fleming
George Gaither Forrest
Harriett Ann Swales Forrest
James Alexander Forrest, Sr - 1996
James Alexander Forrest, Sr - 2003
George Purnell Frederick, Sr
Pearl Thompson Furey

Connect with us: