Friday, August 24, 2012

We, Too, Celebrate You

On August 24, 2012, the library's namesake had another birthday! To celebrate this wonderful day, the library is displaying a letter written by Barbara Jackson-Nash, a former director of the Banneker-Douglass Museum (BDM), where she says, "Mrs. Sylvia Gaither continues to do a very outstanding job in the library." The current staff of the BDM agrees with her assessment. We, too, celebrate the great accomplishments of Mrs. Garrison, for she laid the foundation for the lovely library we enjoy today!

We also invite you to schedule an appointment with the archivist by calling him at 410.216.6191 to visit the library and read the rest of the letter and some of the other outstanding materials we have on Maryland's rich African American heritage. You'll be glad you did.

Pictured from left to right: Mrs. Sylvia Gaither Garrison, library namesake, and Dr. Joni Jones, Director, Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture, and Director, BDM

Never Can Say Goodbye

The staff of the Banneker-Douglass Museum (BDM) wishes to thank Michael Janakis, Hodson Trust Intern, for all of his hard work this summer. Michael conducted research on numerous African Americans found within the Banneker-Douglass Museum Photo Archives, notably Alex Haley, Corretta Scott King, and Cab Calloway. He helped Archivist Lynn Waller preserve many photographs within the collection, and he gave a riveting presentation to the Banneker-Douglass Museum Foundation.

To tangibly express our appreciation, Lynn treated Michael to lunch at Galway Bay, an Irish restaurant in Annapolis, where he gave him a gift, An Unbroken Circle, a book about African and African American Christians.

The staff of the Banneker-Douglass Museum wishes Michael well in his quest to become an archivist.

Pictured from left to right: BDM Archivist Lynn Waller and Michael Janakis, Hodson Trust Intern

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Holy Archangels Orthodox Church Visits SGGL

On Wednesday, August 8th, the Sylvia Gaither Garrison Library hosted two exciting guests from Holy Archangels Orthodox Church in Annapolis, Maryland: Father (Fr.) Robert Miclean, godfather of our SGGL intern Michael Janakis, and Brian Merriweather. Brian Merriweather is an African American convert to Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

Fr. Robert and Brian came to vist Michael at the Banneker-Douglass Museum. Michael has been sharing his experiences here at the SGGL with his church family, and was very excited to show his godfather and friend the work he has been doing. In addition, Michael and our guests from Holy Archangels have been very excited to share with the staff of the Banneker-Douglass Museum the ancient African roots of Christianity, of which most people here in America
are unaware.

Michael showed Fr. Robert and Brian the photographs he has been working to preserve, and parts of the research he has been doing for his presentation which he gave to the Banneker Douglass Museum Foundation on August 11th. Michael then gave a brief tour of the museum to his church family. Fr. Robert and Brian both enjoyed the museum very much, with both Fr. Robert and Brian expressing their desire to return with their respective families. Fr. Robert's wife, and Michael's godmother, Matushka (Russian for "mama") Krissy, is about to give birth to their first son, James, so her visit will have to wait a while!

After the tour, Michael showed Fr. Robert, Brian, and Dr. Joni Jones some pictures of an Eastern Orthodox icon corner, which we had in the BDM photo archives. In the eastern corner of every Orthodox Christian home, there is an icon corner, where icons of Christ and the saints, and holy items, are placed. This is where Orthodox Christians pray in their homes. Dr. Joni Jones was able to identify that the photographs were from the house across the street from Mr. Moriah.

Our guests from Holy Archangels and Michael were able to share some African Christian history with Dr. Jones and Lynn, including stories of African saints such as St. Moses the Black, St. Anthony the Great, St. Mary of Egypt, and St. George of Damascus. Africa was the birthplace of Christian monasticism. There have always been Orthodox Christians in Africa, long before Islam and the "return" of Christianity by the Jesuits and American missionaries. Some of the native Christians are the Coptic Orthodox Church (the Copts are the native Egyptians), the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church (Tewahedo means "being made one", referring to the unified wills, human and divine, of Christ), the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria, which has Orthodox churches all over Africa. Our guests from Holy Archangels were also able to inform the staff about the Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black (BSMB), an Orthodox organization headed by African American priest Fr. Moses Berry, which is dedicated to spreading knowledge of the African roots of Christianity to Americans. Fr. Moses Berry hosts the BSMB Annual Ancient Christianity and Afro-American Conference in Ligonier, PA. Fr. Robert and his parishoners extended their open invitation to anyone interested in learning more about ancient African Christianity to come visit Holy Archangels Orthodox Church, stay for a service, and enjoy some food and hospitality.

We would like to thank Fr. Robert and Brian, and everyone at Holy Archangels Orthodox Church for visiting us and sharing pieces of precious history with us.

Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black website
Holy Archangels Orthodox Church website

Pictured: Father Robert shows Dr. Jones pictures of his child while Brian looks on.