Current Exhibition

BLACK ENTREPRENEURS OF THE 50s & 60s

Thanks to a Maryland Traditions grant received by RiverArts, Airlee Johnson and Lani Seikaly curated an exhibition sharing the stories of twenty-four African Americans who were either black business owners; their families; their employees; or the clients of businesses open in the 50’s and 60’s.  Over 15 businesses were operating on Cannon Street alone which residents described as a busy commerce area during the week and a bustling place on Friday and Saturday nights.   And the infamous Charlie Graves’ Uptown Club on Calvert Street added to the vitality of the time by bringing in big name singers including James Brown, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Patti Labelle, Etta James and Ray Charles to perform.

The exhibition, which premiered at the RiverArts Studio Gallery in May 2018, is now featured at Sumner Hall.  It includes interview excerpts, old photos and over 50 short youtubes telling the stories of growing up and/or doing business here in Chestertown in the  50s and 60s.

The Board and Volunteers of G.A.R. Post #25 wishes to express its appreciation to RiverArts and Maryland Traditions for exhibiting Black Entrepreneurs of the 50s and 60s at Sumner Hall!