Thursday, October 13, 2005

A Tale of Two Cities

Here's a fun experiment: Ask one of your friends or family members to name the only two incorporated municipalities in Anne Arundel County. They're fairly certain to get the first, Annapolis, but what, oh what, is the second? Glen Burnie, perhaps? No. Odenton? Nada. Edgewater? Nyet. It's Highland Beach, out on the Annapolis Neck peninsula near Bay Ridge.

Founded in 1893 by the son and daughter-in-law of Frederick Douglass, who had been turned away from the nearby Bay Ridge Restaurant because of their race, it was the first African American municipality in Maryland at its incorporation in 1922. The town has its own Mayor and four Commissioners and now includes roughly sixty households and is still home to the descendants of many of the original settlers of the area. It is also home to the Highland Beach Community & Frederick Douglass Museum Cultural Center (3200 Wyman Avenue, Annapolis 21043; 410-268-2956).

As some point in the future, I hope to address the issue of why no additional communities in the County have incorporated since 1922 and why, as I understand it, the law prohibits such an act.

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