Union Baptist Church and the B&O Railroad Museum celebrate the civil rights movement

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Reverend Dr. Alvin Hathaway, Sr. and the B&O Railroad Museum will celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an the civil rights movement. (Courtesy Photos)

Baltimore, MD – January 12, 2021 – The B&O Railroad Museum is honored to host the Union Baptist Church this holiday weekend in celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and highlighting the deeply interconnected histories of the Civil Rights Movement and American railroading.

On Sunday, January 17 at 1:45 PM, please join us for a special presentation, “Union Pastors Riding on the B&O Railroad,” with Reverend Dr. Alvin Hathaway, Sr. speaking on how Baltimore’s Union Baptist Church played a historic, central role in the civil rights movement by overturning Maryland’s law permitting segregation on train cars, and shares his own personal experience, as well as that of the church’s fifth pastor, Reverend Dr. Harvey Johnson, on the B&O Railroad. Moderated by Kris Hoellen, B&O Railroad Museum’s executive director with Q&A session following presentation.

The weekend of celebration includes the Museum’s debut of the African American Experience with the Railroad, a video and oral history project in partnership with Union Baptist Church. The video will be available for review throughout the MLK weekend and available online beginning Monday, January 18. “The B&O Railroad Museum is pleased to be collaborating with Union Baptist Church and Rev. Dr. Hathaway for this important partnership on giving voice to these stories,” said Kris Hoellen, executive director of the B&O Railroad Museum. “Everyone should hear these stories and understand the connection between the civil rights movement and the railroads.”

The Union Baptist Church has a proud history of involvement in the civil rights movement, dating back to 1892 when pastor Dr. Harvey Johnson, a friend of W.E.B. DuBois, withdrew the church from the Maryland Baptist Union Association due to discrimination and went on to organize the Colored Baptist Convention. The withdrawal effectively made Union Baptist the first independent African American Baptist church in Maryland.

All activities and events are designed for a safe and fun visit to the B&O Railroad Museum’s sprawling 40-acre campus. Occupancy has been reduced to meet state and city guidelines; additionally, face masks and safe social distancing practices are required for all visitors, staff, and volunteers. The Museum’s full safety measures can be found at www.BORail.events/Visit.

African American Oral History Project

Saturday-Monday, Jan. 16-18

A B&O Railroad Museum and Union Baptist Church partnership debuts video and oral narratives of the African American experience with the railroad. Learn first-hand accounts of riding in a segregated car, working to recruit for diversity and creating a mentoring program for the railroad. Video available during Museum hours.

Frederick Douglass at the B&O

Sunday, Jan. 17 – 11 AM – 1 PM

Renowned reenactor Reginald Peterson returns to teach visitors about the life and work of famous Maryland abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

Union Pastors Riding on the B&O Railroad

Sunday, Jan. 17 – 1:45 – 2:45 PM

Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Hathaway, Sr. presents how Baltimore’s Union Baptist Church played a historic, central role in the civil rights movement by overturning Maryland’s law permitting segregation on train cars, and shares his own personal experience, as well as that of the church’s fifth pastor, Rev. Dr. Harvey Johnson, on the B&O Railroad. After the presentation, Rev. Hathaway will be available for a public Q&A.

From Slavery to Civil Rights Tour

Saturday, Jan. 16 – 2 PM; Sunday, Jan. 17 – 3 PM; Monday, Jan. 18 – 1 PM

This special tour gives visitors a powerful glimpse into the history of African Americans on the railroad from slavery to the era of civil rights – a story characterized by courage, remarkable perseverance, and an indefatigable determination to overcome all odds. Tour included with admission.

Kid-Friendly: From Slavery to Civil Rights Tour & Reflection Activity

Saturday & Monday, Jan. 16 & 19 – 10:30 AM

This tour is designed to engage kids’ in their understanding of the history of African Americans on the railroad and includes an activity to reflect on what they have learned. Tour included with admission.

About the B&O Railroad Museum

The B&O Railroad Museum, a full affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of American railroading and its impact on American society, culture and economy. The Museum is home to the oldest, most comprehensive collection of railroad artifacts in the Western Hemisphere including an unparalleled roster of 19th and 20th century railroad equipment. The 40-acre historic site is regarded as the birthplace of American Railroading and includes the 1851 Mt. Clare Station, the 1884 Baldwin Roundhouse and first mile of commercial railroad track in America. For further information on the B&O Railroad Museum, please call 410-752-2490 or visit www.BORail.org.