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Over years of sustained interest in African American history, Margaret had amassed a collection of clippings from newspapers and magazines. Deciding to downsize, she asked a friend what she should do with her collection.

To Margaret’s amazement, her friend, Donna Hollie, said, “I know someone who will publish those.” Donna put her in touch with a publisher and they negotiated an arrangement that led to Margaret’s third (and final) book, African American News in the Baltimore Sun 1870-1927.

Many of her clippings were from the Sun newspaper which years earlier had routinely run a column in its rotogravure magazine about what happened in Baltimore 100 years ago or what had happened 50 years ago. It excited Margaret whenever she saw Frederick Douglass’s name.

So it was natural that her book would focus on that publication. Also, she wanted to know what the larger community was saying about colored African American Negroes. A Sun executive informed her of copyright rules that dictated that her work end in 1927.

Margaret D. Pagan Books
Margaret D. Pagan Books

And so began a three-year search into the files that would fill her pages. Information from other sources such as the Afro-American Newspaper were occasionally consulted to document or confirm what was said. The book includes references to Negro baseball leagues, founders of the NAACP, the man who subdued President McKinley’s assassin, and international events that impacted the lives of African Americans.

Margaret says she learned a lot, but what impressed her most was the determined effort to educate those whose education slavery had denied. The push for schools was awesome. The articles imply that leaders realized that change came through the law and politics. So they sought law degrees and political office. This required the right to vote. One of the most touching articles records the scene of the first Black man to vote.

Leaders rose primarily from the Black Church and much about church history can be found. Researchers and genealogists will appreciate references to marriage licenses, obituaries, and the names of high school graduates. A comprehensive index lists the names and events mentioned. This book is a starting point for anyone connected with Maryland who is interested in African American history during the period covered.

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