Catonsville family worthy of recognition

August 12, 2011

I enjoyed reading the article ("All in the family now" Aug. 7) about the first Baltimore family to verify, through DNA testing, its descent from two famous 17th and 18th century settlers of Virginia and thereby becoming members of the Page-Nelson Historical Society. Although the focus of the article was the twist that the Page family of Catonsville is African-American, I was not surprised. What the article did not convey was the Page-Brooks-Monokey family's contributions and standing in the historically black section of Catonsville where I grew up.

The matriarch of the Page family, Eva Page Brooks, was my second grade teacher at Benjamin Banneker Elementary School, an excellent educator. Her younger sister, Mary Page Monokey, was my next-door neighbor and known for kindness and baking talents. Their nieces, Angela Page and Jackie Page Thomas, were my classmates and exhibited the same intelligence and quiet dignity of their lovely aunts.

Maybe one day it will not be newsworthy that a traditional African-American family, like the Pages, can trace its dual ancestry from the descendants of Africans brought here in chains to the signers of the Declaration of Independence. We as a nation will be greater once we accept and acknowledge the history and legacy of all Americans, regardless of their lineage.

Martin P. Welch, Baltimore

The writer is chief judge of the Baltimore City Circuit Court.

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