Exercising Freedom: Overcoming Racial and Religious Boundaries

Exercising Freedom: Overcoming Racial and Religious Boundaries (HM1XHJ)

Location: Baltimore, MD 21201
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 17.7333', W 76° 36.9392'

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Mount Vernon Cultural Walk

Contrary to Baltimore's 19th century conservative appearance, Baltimoreans created progressive, diverse communities that expanded the nation's racial and religious freedom. By the time of the Civil War, Baltimore had the largest free African American population in the country; approximately 28,000 African Americans lived in Baltimore and 26,000 were free.

Some of the most affluent African American, many of whom owned their own homes, lived on Hamilton Street, just east of Charles Street: William Bishop, barber; Emory Bond, confectioner; Alexander Wayman, bishop of the Bethel AME Church; Nicholas Dutton, carter; and Romeo Price, waiter. By 1860, Baltimore had more than 1,300 African American property owners and 44 African American institutions, including 16 churches and 15 schools. Baltimore contained one of the diverse and successful African American communities in the country.

Baltimoreans formed the first American Roman Catholic diocese; built the first Swedenborgian Church structure in America; gave birth to the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Church of the United Brethren; co-founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church; and hosted the first sermon pronouncing the Unitarian doctrine. These movements, in which Baltimore was central, proliferated and influenced communities throughout the country.

Standing on this corner, the First Unitarian Church, American's oldest continuously used Unitarian Church, represents one of the nation's greatest "Neo-classical" buildings. The simple, geometric design, constructed in 1818, portrays the desire of the congregation to create a church "modeled upon the simple principles of the Gospels." It was designed by Maximilian Godefroy (ca. 1770-1837), who was classically educated in France and exiled to America for his opposition to the Napoleonic regime.
Historical Period19th Century
Historical PlaceTown
Marker TypeHistoric District
Marker ClassHistorical Marker
Marker StyleFree Standing
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, March 25th, 2017 at 7:09pm PDT -07:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 360677 N 4350819
Decimal Degrees39.29555500, -76.61565306
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 17.7333', W 76° 36.9392'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 17' 43.9980" N, 76° 36' 56.3510" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)410, 443, 301
Can be seen from road?Yes
Is marker in the median?No
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 12 W Franklin St, Baltimore MD 21201, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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