By AFRO Staff 

Harry Sythe Cummings, the state’s third Black attorney, was Baltimore City’s first Black councilman. He served three terms between 1890 and 1919, representing the racially-mixed 11th ward. Cummings began practicing law in 1889–advocating for the hiring of Black teachers and the establishment of a high school program for Black students. He and his colleagues also

Harry Sythe Cummings was Baltimore’s first Black councilman. (AFRO Archive)

led the fight to end racial discrimination in Baltimore teacher salaries. That battle continued until then-Baltimore Mayor Howard Jackson assured equal pay for all teachers in 1927. Warner T. McGuinn and W. Ashbie Hawkins played major roles in this win.

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Mary Elizabeth Lange is the foundress of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the oldest order of Black Catholic nuns in the world, resided in Baltimore near the historic district of Seton Hill. Her statue, carved in linden wood is located in the chapel of Old St. Mary’s Seminary where she had a school for girls in the early 1800s.

Mary Elizabeth Lange, commonly referred to as “Mother Mary Lange.” (AFRO archive)