History of the
Unified Committee for Afro-American
Elmer Brown's Dream Realized - The
African American Monument in Southern
1744 S. Coral Place
Lexington Park, MD 20653
Park hours are every day,
sunrise to sunset.
The dream came to life when one person shared a vision with another. Together they
thought it was important enough to pursue making the vision a reality. The dream? To give recognition and
respect to African-American life and contributions to the county. For
those who came before us and those are
currently part of our community.
community and the county was founded,
developed and continues to grow though
the effort of many people: civil rights
advocates, religious leaders, educators,
and community organizers; domestic
workers, trade persons, business people,
Interested members first met on June 30,
1994 to form a group. This meeting
was the outcome of a vision of Elmer
regularly in the fall of 1994, and
developing a strategy which could be
implemented within a three-year period,
the group named itself the Unified
Committee for Afro-American
Contributions (UCAC). On October
30, 1994, UCAC became a 501C3 non-profit
November 29, 1994, the committee
presented a proposal to the St. Mary's
Board of County Commissioners: to erect
a monument dedicated to African
Americans. The commissioners
agreed to placing the monument in
Freedom Park** in Lexington Park,
several meetings before UCAC members
agreed as to what kind of materials
might be used and what shape the
monument should be. It was decided
that the monument would be in the shape
of an Egyptian pyramid, because Egypt is
an African country, the Egyptians built
pyramids, and the pyramid represents
strength and endurance.
deciding the shape of the monument, one
question still remained. What
they build it out of?
by a hymn,
Rough Side of the Mountain,
it was decided that rough stone would
make up the monument. Says Mr.
Brown, "The stones and the shape of the
monument represent the difficult
struggle of blacks climbing the rough
side of mountain to get to the other
stones for the monument had to be 4" or
5" in diameter. Members of
the committee went to many sand pits and
gathered stones in 5-gallon buckets.
They'd carry them to the site in Freedom
Park where the monument was to be built.
William Holly, Phillip Scriber,
Elmer Brown, Joe Bryant,
Ben Simmons, and Spencer Scriber
Scriber was assigned as the construction
foreman, but it with much help that the
monument was born. This was
accomplished by many people: Elmer
J. Brown, Richard Holly, Calvin Green,
Tony Porter, Robert John Lewis, Spencer
Scriber, Joseph Stover, Philip Scriber,
Melvin Endy, and many others.
top of the monument is an eternal flame.
A continuous beacon commemorating the
accomplishments of African Americans in
St. Mary's County: past, present and
future. The idea was to present a
beacon that Afro-Americans have reached
the top of the mountain.
Freedom Park is near the main gate to
Patuxent Naval Air Station at the
intersection of Route 235 and Tulagi
Place. Limited parking is available.
Additional parking is available directly
across Route 235.
29, 2000 a dream became a reality. The
newly erected St. Mary’s County African
American Monument was dedicated. The
monument located in Lexington Park,
Maryland on the grounds of Freedom Park
serves as an external reminder to the
citizens of the county of the
contributions of African Americans to
the growth and development of St. Mary’s
County. Contributions of great
significance being made in all walks of
life that have been sparsely documented
or are missing entirely from historical
chronicles and books that tell the story
of St. Mary’s County.
were to tour the monument you would find
a pyramid of natural stone that it is
surrounded by six pedestals with bronze
plaques. The symbolism of the monument
evolved from a community of people who
persevered to make it a reality.
The Pyramid -- The pyramid represents
one of the oldest architectural
structures built of stone and mortar.
The four- sided base of this edifice
survival, strength and multicultural
participation in the building of
community in St. Mary’s County. This
foundation reminds us that we stand on
the backs and
shoulders of the many who came before
Natural Stone -- The rough hewn
simplicity of native natural stone from
the county symbolizes the efforts of the
many African Americans who have made
contributions to St. Mary’s County. The
stones in all sizes and shapes represent
the diverse accomplishments of all
people in the African American
rich and poor, known and unknown.
Eternal Flame -- The finial of the
monument is an eternal flame which
symbolizes the constant eternal presence
of our fore-parents and our eternal
gratefulness to them as we pass the
torch to future generations.
is surrounded by six pedestals with
bronze plaques inviting you into the
monument to read and reflect on the
monumental contributions of African
Americans to the county.
"Building History One Brick at a
Time," The Enterprise, 21
April 2004, sec. A, p. 2.
It is a
tall structure in the middle of
bright green grass at the corner of
Tulagi Place and Route 235.
Physically, it is nothing but stone
and mortar surrounded by paths of
bricks. But to hundreds of
people in St. Mary's, it is a symbol
of the contribution that
African-Americans have made to the
progress of the region.
now just about anyone can own a
little piece of it.
Unified Committee for Afro-American
Contributions is selling bricks that
will be inscribed and placed into
one of the paths that surround the
monument. The bricks will be
$50 each for up to 18 characters,
and then 50 cents for each
additional character. The
bricks will be a part of a
Juneteenth celebration and should be
ordered by April 30.
Brown is on the monument committee
and said that he hopes that by
buying bricks, people will feel a
connection with the meaning of the
gives Afro-Americans an opportunity
to have something they can have
ownership of," Brown said.
"Somewhere or something that
point to to say 'this represents
me,' and it's all for the benefit of
the county in general."
said he has often driven by the
monument and seen people sitting and
reading books or looking at the
"Sometimes they just go to it and
touch it," he said. "They can
feel the importance of it.
bricks are an opportunity for those
persons to say thank you to ... the
people who paved the way for them."
for those who are not African
American, Brown said they can also
appreciate the importance of the
gives them a feeling of partnership.
They also feel a contribution to
something important -- freedom."
These bricks, placed on the walkway
surrounding and leading to the monument,
serve as a permanent acknowledgement
of the importance of
African-American contributions to St.