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!

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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.

Memorial Day Celebration – Monday, May 31, 2021

Charles Sumner Post #25, Grand Army of the Republic Painting by Allen Johnson

Sumner Hall honored military veterans on Memorial Day, Monday, May 31st 2021 at Chestertown’s Memorial Park. This ceremony featured song and the spoken word which was conducted by Sumner Hall’s board members with participation from young members of the Rising Sons, GLOW and Minary’s Dream Alliance. This event carries on the tradition of the founding members of G. A. R. Post #25 who called attention to the service of Black and White veterans by conducting an annual parade and then placing flowers on the graves of veterans.

On May 5, 1868, a proclamation calling for Decoration Day to be observed annually and nationwide, was issued by General John A. Logan, Commander-in-Chief of the Grand “Army of the Republic. Now the federal holiday known as Memorial Day, it is the time set aside to honor military personnel who have died in the performance of their military duties while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Thank you to everyone who was able to join us for this ceremony. If you missed the ceremony you can watch it by clicking the button below.

View Our Memorial Day Celebration  


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.

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!