Brownsville/Park Avenue Monument Dedicated in Honor of Displaced Community

Aug 25, 2020 6:00 PM

Frostburg State University dedicated the Brownsville/Park Avenue Monument, located in the Upper Quad of campus, on Tuesday, Aug. 25. It commemorates the largely African American community that was displaced as the campus grew between the 1920s and 1960s. The dedication was attended by former Park Avenue residents and Brownsville descendants.

The monument’s explanatory plaque begins:

“Near this spot, a vibrant African American neighborhood existed prior to the construction of the Frostburg State University campus. The name and spirit of Brownsville emerged in the late 19th century largely due to the courage and dedication of Ms. Tamer Brown, a laundress who acquired land here in 1866. A formerly enslaved person, she was a leading force in the establishment of the Lincoln School and in the creation of the John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church.”

It goes on to describe the cultural hub that the community became for the African American families who lived there, and the period between 1927 and 1962 when property owners were forced to sell to accommodate the growth of the school that became FSU.

Initiated by a student history research project, the project has had many supporters over the years to keep it alive. These include former residents of the community and their descendants, faculty and staff members, community members and alumni. The memorial is being supported now and into the future by grants and funds raised through a crowdfunding campaign.

Watch the dedication at this link: