Helping youths, `doing my part'

Second-grade teacher one of six to receive Fannie Lou Hamer Award


Some youngsters need an extra boost to master academic basics that serve as the foundation for other learning.

So Hilltop Elementary School teacher Edith McDougald invites their parents to take them to her home for tutoring and "of course, a little snack," or she drops by their homes or meets them at the library for extra help.

There's no charge. McDougald said her incentive is to help the children grow and learn.

"I want them to see that they are special, and they can do it, too," said McDougald, a second-grade teacher.

She said people should put themselves out to help those in the community who are in need.

"I believe in doing my part," she said.

The Glen Burnie resident has won several awards over the years and is active in civic, community and professional organizations.

After 38 years as an elementary school teacher, McDougald plans to retire at the end of this school year. But she is hoping to continue to help children and teach reading at Anne Arundel Community College.

McDougald is one of six women who received a Fannie Lou Hamer Award on Thursday.

Also honored were Del. Virginia P. Clagett of West River; Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Nancy Davis-Loomis; longtime nurse DeMorris D.C. Palmer; the Rev. LaReesa Smith of the Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Severn; and Ann Marie Wood, director of sales at La Fontaine Bleu Catering.

The awards, in their 10th year, are named for a woman who has been considered inspirational in the civil rights movement, notably in the quest for voting rights and women's rights. They are given by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Dinner Committee to mark Hamer's birthday.

The granddaughter of slaves, Hamer would have celebrated her 89th birthday Thursday. In the 1960s, as a civil rights worker, she was beaten and her life was threatened.

She is perhaps most widely known for a televised speech at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, N.J., in which she described indignities, illegal taxes and intimidation of blacks who had sought to vote. She died in 1977.

Carl O. Snowden, King Committee head and special assistant to Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens, said the awards are especially poignant this year because it is the 40th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and because a record number of African-Americans ran for office in Annapolis this year.

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