African-American bazaar boosts restoration effort

November 29, 1992|By JACKIE POWDER | JACKIE POWDER,Staff Writer

Things African filled the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center yesterday -- jewelry, books, artwork, Christmas decorations, dolls in traditional costumes.

Heritage Bazaar drew 35 black entrepreneurs who offered shoppers a multitude of African-American crafts.

And, fittingly, the bazaar raised money to help pay for restoration of the Ellicott City Colored School, built in 1880 as the county's first school for black children paid for with public money.

The school, at Main Street and Rogers Avenue, entered the Howard County Register of Historical Sites in 1989. The Central Maryland Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, the bazaar's sponsor, is working to restore the school to its 1880 appearance.

"It's a bit of African-American history in the county," said Columbia resident Beulah Buckner, who discovered the dilapidated remains of the old school in 1988.

The restored school will serve as a research center for black county history, complete with historical documents, microfiche and a computer.

With the 35 merchants at the Heritage Bazaar paying $35 each to participate in the event, the society raised $1,225 toward the school's $475,000 restoration costs, said Ms. Buckner, project manager of the Ellicott City Colored School Restoration Project.

In October, the society received $28,000 in grants -- $14,000 each from the county and the state -- toretain an architect for the project. Ms. Buckner hopes the restoration is complete by the end of 1993.

"Once it's restored," she said, "it will be a place where young African-Americans can learn that they, too, have a history in Howard County."

Sisters Ruth Wilson of Glen Burnie and Diane Swift of Rockville offered a bit of black history themselves yesterday.

They sold black memorabilia such as Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong note cards and homemade pins honoring black women, including Josephine Baker, Alice Walker and Harriet Tubman.

Barbara J. Felton of Columbia sold her "little chocolate babies," her handmade version of the Raggedy Ann dolls.

The National Black Yellow Pages, published by Landmark Enterprises of Columbia, was also available to bazaar shoppers.

The book, which costs $25, is a compilation of African-American organizations, government officials and businesses. It also includes statistical information on African nations.

In addition to fund-raisers, Ms. Buckner plans to raise $175,000 of the Ellicott City Colored School's restoration costs from churches, black sororities and corporate donations.

She also hopes to obtain more public money for the project.

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