By Scott Broom
It took a Black History Month tweet from Maryland’s Lieutenant Governor to draw our attention to an obscure community in Easton, Md. with a long, important history.
The neighborhood known as “The Hill” was established in the 1790’s by freed African Americans and is the oldest continuously occupied African American neighborhood in America, according to Morgan State University Professor Dale Green.
The Hill is home to Maryland’s oldest continuously used African American church, Bethel AME on Hanson Street.
The community was founded by freed African Americans who had either been emancipated by Quakers for religious reasons or had bought their own freedom long before Lincoln and the Civil War, Green said.
The community persevered through slavery, the Civil War, reconstruction, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights eras by relying on faith anchored in the neighborhood’s two significant churches.