Welcome to Sumner Hall!  Located in historic Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, this is one of two existing African American G.A.R. buildings still standing in the United States. Built circa 1908 and fully restored in 2014, it serves today as a museum, educational site, performance stage, social hall, and gallery.  Sumner Hall is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, funded by donations and memberships.

Although our building is closed to the public due to the current public health crisis, our volunteers and project staff members continue to produce exhibits in public spaces and offer programs virtually. These are made possible by individual and organizational members and donors. Show your love for Sumner Hall by becoming a member or by making a donation today!

Make a Donation

Become an Individual Member

Become an Organizational Member

We would like to hear from you! To contact us, please call 443.282.0023 and leave a message or send us an email:  info@sumnerhall.org;  we will be back in touch with you soon.  Or, you may contact us by mail.  Our address is 208 South Queen Street, Chestertown, Maryland 21620.


Thank you to everyone who participate in making Justice Day successful. If you were unable to watch Justice Day during the live event. Just click the button below to view the event.

View Justice Day Video

Click on image to enlarge.

Special Thanks to Our Guest Speakers: 

  • Sherrilyn A. Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the nation’s premier civil rights law organization fighting for racial justice and equality. She is also the author of On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century Nowhere is the challenge of confronting the past greater than in those [Eastern Shore of Maryland] counties where lynching occurred. 
  • Savannah Shepherd, 18-year-old college freshman and social justice activist. Working closely with the Equal Justice Initiative and the State of Delaware, she initiated the Delaware Social Justice Remembrance Coalition (DSJRC) to acknowledge past incidents of racial terror in order to understand and change current injustices. 
  • Larry Wilson, President of Sumner Hall and Co-Chair of the James Taylor Justice Coalition, will provide an overview of the vision and mission of the coalition. Ruth Shoge, First Vice President of Sumner Hall, will introduce the 2021 JTJC- EJI High School Essay Contest for Kent County. John Queen, Co-Founder and President of Bayside HOYAS and Chairman of the Black Union of Kent County, will kick-off a summer book club reading of Sherrilyn A. Ifill’s book. 

4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States of America between 1882 and 1968. James Taylor, an African American, was lynched in Chestertown, Maryland in 1892, steps from the courthouse lawn. 

The James Taylor Justice Coalition (JTJC) believes that only by telling the unvarnished truth about the past can we begin to address the current injustices faced by people of color today. Our goal: Armed with the truth of the past and knowledge of the present, the people of Kent County and the Eastern Shore of Maryland will undertake the changes in our society necessary to insure justice and equity for all. 

The James Taylor Justice Coalition is associated with the Community Remembrance Project of the Equal Justice Initiative


Have You Received Your Covid-19 Vaccination Yet?

From the Maryland Covid-19 Data Dasboard https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/#Vaccine

For the sake of your own health and to protect your friends and relatives, NOW is the time to register for a Covid-19 vaccination shot if you are over 60.  Four options are available, all are free, and you can get help in signing up.

  • The Kent County Health Department provides vaccinations on a regular ongoing basis, by appointment only, at the Community Center.  Anyone over 60 can register for an appointment at the Health Department’s website.  Start at kenthd.org, then click on marylandvax.org to see the actual registration page and any open appointments .  If you need help in registering, call Steve Croker at 443-480-2476.
  • Walgreen’s Drug Stores in Chestertown, Rock Hall and Centreville also are administering vaccinations by appointment only, if you open a Walgreen’s account and register.  You can make an appointment on the Walgreen’s website: Walgreens.com, or by calling the store nearest you.
  • State-wide, mass vaccination sites also are open for those 60 and older.  The Eastern Shore mass vaccination site is located at the Wicomico Civic Center in Salisbury.  Pre-register to schedule an appointment at covidvax.maryland.org or by calling 1-855-634-6829. 

Remember, the sooner we all get vaccinated, the sooner we can resume a normal life.


Henry Highland Garnet Books Now Available!

One of America’s most celebrated crusaders for racial justice, Henry Highland Garnet, was born enslaved in Kent County in 1815. Since his story is not well known, George Shivers has written two children’s books – a coloring book and a chapter book – that have been published by Sumner Hall.


Click here to get your copy today!