By CityBiz

As our nation and community recover from the residual pain and trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is worth remembering the vital role that funeral home professionals played in guiding families through their time of loss. To honor their thankless efforts, the AFRO is proud to host a long overdue celebration of the “Unsung Heroes” who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in the last three years.

As a family-run business, and the oldest Black-owned business in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, the AFRO recognizes the unique space that funeral homes occupy in the Black community.

“Funeral homes are often family businesses themselves, and have deep ties to their communities,” said Dr. Frances “Toni” Draper, CEO and publisher of The AFRO. “This is something we at the AFRO understand well. Funeral professionals are there for their communities when needed most, and they deserve the utmost recognition for their work during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.”

“Funeral directors have always played a vital role, particularly in the Black community, but are rarely acknowledged for doing so,” said Lenora Howze, executive director for the AFRO. “We hope this event helps generate long-overdue awareness for these true unsung heroes.

“We’d like to thank both The Harbor Bank of Maryland and March Funeral Homes and Life Tribute Centers for their generous sponsorship of this event.”

The Unsung Heroes celebrated at the Aug. 6th event will include:

  • Joseph H. Brown Funeral Home
  • Hari P. Close Funeral Services
  • Carlton C. Douglass Funeral Services
  • Vaughn Greene Funeral Services
  • Estep Brothers Funeral Home
  • Chatman-Harris Funeral Home
  • Howell Funeral Home
  • The Derrick C. Jones Funeral Home
  • Gary P. March Funeral Home
  • James A. Morton & Sons Funeral Homes
  • Wylie Funeral Home
  • March Funeral Home
  • Redd Funeral Services
  • John Williams Funeral Directors

The event will be held at Valley Mansion by Martin’s in Cockeysville, Md., beginning at 1pm.

Individual tickets can be purchased for $75, via

To learn more about the AFRO, visit:

About the AFRO

The AFRO is the oldest Black-owned business in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, and the  third-oldest in the United States. For over 130 years, the AFRO has offered a platform for images and stories that advance the Black community, fulfilling the vision of John H. Murphy Sr., a formerly enslaved man who founded the publication with his wife, Martha Howard Murphy. Today, through the leadership of Murphy’s great-granddaughter, Dr. Frances “Toni” Draper, the AFRO remains the Black Media Authority, providing readers with good news about the Black community not otherwise found.