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County Executive Steuart Pittman Salutes “A Few of the Many” Leaders during 2020 Black History Celebration

In partnership with the Caucus of African American Leaders  

Annapolis, Md (February 5, 2020)  During a signature black history event, County Executive Steuart Pittman for the first time bestowed special Executive Citations to 22 African American leaders in Anne Arundel County who have each made lasting contributions in their communities.  

The two honors -- The Sojourner Truth Award and The Elijah Cummings Award -- were created posthumously to recognize two towering landmark figures whose lives left indelible marks on the struggle for equal justice and humanity.  

“We are recognizing just a few of the many African American leaders who have contributed to making the county The Best Place - For All,” said County Executive Pittman.  “Each of them have been foot soldiers in the long march toward greater equity in housing, education, health care, and discrimination in all areas of life. They stand on the shoulders of Sojourner Truth and they follow in the deep footsteps left by Congressman Elijah Cummings.”

“The Few of the Many reception underscores why it is important that all children be taught  the contributions that African Americans have made to this nation,” said Carl Snowden, chairman of the Caucus.  “A history book, like a mirror, should reflect everyone’s image and contribution.”

As one of the better-known historical figures, even among millennials, Truth (1797-1883) urged young men during the Civil War to join the union cause and she organized supplies for black troops.  After the war, she was honored with an invitation to the White House and became involved with the Freedmen’s Bureau, helping freed slaves find jobs and build new lives.

Before Congressman Cummings (1951-2019) died last year after longstanding health issues, he was a passionate leader and powerful advocate for civil rights and moral leadership, both at home in Baltimore City’s 7th Congressional District and as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee.  

During Black History Month in 2014, he wrote:  “At a time when voter suppression, gerrymandered congressional districts, and Senate filibusters continue to thwart the civic will of the American people, a renewed focus upon our civil rights history is both timely and profound.  We do well to recall and applaud the struggles, sacrifices, and successes of civil rights heroes like Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. Du Bois, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Fanny Lou Hamer.”

In acknowledgement of the recent uptick in hate bias incidents across the county, County Executive Pittman recently changed all county signage to “The Best Place - For All” to signal the county’s intentional move toward a future of diversity and inclusion, and to embark upon the difficult work of addressing systemic and institutionalized racism in the county.  

“The lack of civility and respect, particularly when it comes in the form of racism, bigotry, and hate, is a disease that exists not only in our current political climate but throughout the ages in our county and across the country. We must each do our part. If we all do our work well, Anne Arundel County will have an amazing story of success to spread,” said County Executive Pittman.  

Sojourner Truth Honorees

  • The Honorable Candace C.W. Antwine
  • Dr. Linda Boyd
  • Ms. Crystal A. Johnson Brown
  • Ms. Josephine Brown
  • Ms. Pamele R. Browne
  • Ms. Claudia DeGrate
  • Dr. Deidra Dennie
  • Ms. Delores Duncan-White
  • Ms. Bessie M. Knight
  • Ms. Elizamae Robinson
  • Ms. Jo Ann Scipio

Congressman Elijah Cummings Honorees

  • Mr. Phil Ateto
  • Mr. David Harris
  • Reverend Rickey Nelson Jones
  • Mr. William B. Kirby
  • Mr. Vincent O. Leggett
  • Mr. Leutrell M. Osborne
  • Mr. Anthony A. Smoot
  • Sergeant James C. Spearman, Jr.
  • Mr. Anthony J. Spencer
  • Mr. Ralph Thomas, Sr.
  • Mr. Devin Tucker
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