Menu
Trone 728 x 90 -Test 2

News

City Council to decide on moving statue to Beall-Dawson House

ROCKVILLE -- Montgomery County taxpayers may shell out potentially tens of thousands of dollars to relocate the Confederate Cavalry Statue a quarter mile down the street by year's end.

Beall-Dawson House restoration 9-29-15While the historic Beall-Dawson House in Rockville is under renovation construction, city and county elected officials are determining whether to move the controversial Confederate Cavalry Statue a quarter-mile west from the Red Brick Courthouse to the Beall-Dawson property. Photo by Danica Roem

 

County Executive Ike Leggett and members of local history groups agreed Sept. 22 the best spot to move the controversial monument would be the grounds of the Beall-Dawson House museum at 103 W. Montgomery Avenue.

Before that happens, the City Council and the city's Historic District Commission will have to approve of the relocation effort since the monument would be transferred from county-owned property to city-owned property.

Monday night, Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton reported the County’s Department of General Services director David Dyce issued an Oct. 8 deadline for the City Council to make a decision about relocating the statue to the Beall-Dawson House property.

Council members and the mayor will likely do so at their Oct. 5 meeting - their last meeting before the deadline.

While a majority on the council Monday appeared to back the idea of moving the monument to Beall-Dawson, Newton and council member Beryl Feinberg hedged their support on two unanswered questions.

Following the Sept. 28 City Council meeting, Newton said she could support it “as long as we address who’s going to pay for the additional signage and interpretations.”

“It’s not just a plaque. It could be more than that,” added Feinberg.

During the summer, council member Tom Moore suggested moving the statue to the Beall-Dawson House so the city could curate it and add context to it as a historical statue.

He reemphasized his support for moving it again Monday, saying, “Nothing’s changed.

“I think it’s a proper place for us to publicly curate the statue,” he said. “Everything lines up for it to be there.”

The Beall-Dawson House is a 200-year-old home-turned-museum located near the southwestern intersection of W Middle Lane and N Adams Street.

It is modeled to resemble 19th century living arrangements, including slave quarters.

Moore stressed the point of moving the statue a quarter-mile down the road, even at a potential cost of more than $10,000, is that it’s “inappropriate” to have it located on the grounds of a courthouse, which is supposed to represent equality and due process under the law.

“Moving it off those grounds makes all the difference in the world,” he added, later suggesting local high school students could help provide context for the statue by coming up with the proper signage for it.

The earliest the Historic District Commission could offer its approval for relocating the monument is Nov. 19. The filing deadline passed for the commissioners to consider it during their Oct. 15 meeting.

"I think the executive wants to move it by the end of the year," said County Executive spokesperson Patrick Lacefield.

Lacefield mentioned the County's Department of General Services will be reasonable for coming up with the money in its budget to move the statue.

"We're still looking at some contractors to get the best price possible," he said, adding the cost will be north of $10,000.

"Yes, absolutely. It will be five digits... That's just an expense that the Department of General Services will have to cover out of their budget."

The Confederate Cavalry Statue has stood in its current location since 1971 but the massacre of nine African Americans by a white man in Charleston, S.C. earlier this year led to a nationwide dialogue about whether it's appropriate to have Confederate symbols on public grounds outside of museums.

Along with the costs of physically moving the monument, county taxpayers will also have to cover the cost of developing a site plan designed to pinpoint exactly where to put it along the Beall-Dawson House property.

"And that would include things like pedestrian access, some landscaping elements and things of that nature," said Matt Logan, the Montgomery County Historical Society executive director.

While the final location is still up for debate, Logan narrowed the choices down to two outdoor places.

One spot would be along W. Middle Lane, in a small park along the north lawn near the Jane C. Sween Library; the other would be somewhere closer to the actual Beall-Dawson House itself.

In any scenario, the 16-foot-tall structure is too tall to stand inside, according to Logan.

"It is an absolutely massive piece of art and there's nowhere I'm aware of that could exhibit it inside," he said.

Logan joined Peerless Rockville founder Eileen McGuckian and executive director Nancy Picard and Menare Foundation founder Tony Cohen during their Sept. 22 meeting with Leggett.

While the four historians all voiced support for keeping the statue at the Red Brick Courthouse, Leggett "made it clear that that was off the table and was unacceptable from his standpoint," said Logan.

The Beall-Dawson House then became the leading candidate for the statue's new home.

Several factors played a role in Beall-Dawson being the default choice.

At the Sept. 17 Historic District Commission hearing, commissioners voted 4-0 in favor of authorizing county officials to move the county-owned statue but included in their vote a recommendation for them to keep it in Rockville.

McGuckian and fellow Peerless Rockville member Patricia Woodward complained to the City Council Monday the commissioners refused to correct a staff error about the monument being designated an historical structure and also allowed a technical problem to persist.

Prior to the Monday meeting, McGuckian sent an email to the mayor and council members stating the commission allowed “[i]naccurate and misleading statements in the staff report and staff recommendation that the Confederate Statue is neither significant nor even designated in a Historic District by the City of Rockville.”

She then mentioned the commission also allowed “[i]naccurate, and misleading procedures involving the Secretary of the Interior's Guidelines, and Rockville HDC criteria and Rules of Procedure.”

Previously, County Council members also unveiled a list of potential sites evaluated as potential homes for the statute.

Logan, however, reluctantly agreed about relocating it to the Beall-Dawson House.

"We're willing to take it here," he said. "We want to do what's best for all parties concerned. We feel like we have a responsibility to help interpret it. And if our community and our elected representatives determine this is the best location, then we'll set up and do everything we can to promote community understanding (of the statue) and building appreciation for our past."

 

 

Read more...

Pope Francis implores the Golden Rule in D.C.

On Thursday morning, Pope Francis addressed a joint session of Congress at Capitol Hill, imploring his audience to follow the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Here is the full prepared text from his speech, issued prior to his address.

Mr. Vice-President,

Mr. Speaker,

Honorable Members of Congress,

Dear Friends,

I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. I would like to think that the reason for this is that I too am a son of this great continent, from which we have all received so much and toward which we share a common responsibility.

Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you.

Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation. On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work: you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.

Today I would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the United States. Here, together with their representatives, I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and –one step at a time – to build a better life for their families. These are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society. They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need.

I would also like to enter into dialogue with the many elderly persons who are a storehouse of wisdom forged by experience, and who seek in many ways, especially through volunteer work, to share their stories and their insights. I know that many of them are retired, but still active; they keep working to build up this land. I also want to dialogue with all those young people who are working to realize their great and noble aspirations, who are not led astray by facile proposals, and who face difficult situations, often as a result of immaturity on the part of many adults. I wish to dialogue with all of you, and I would like to do so through the historical memory of your people.

My visit takes place at a time when men and women of good will are marking the anniversaries of several great Americans. The complexities of history and the reality of human weakness notwithstanding, these men and women, for all their many differences and limitations, were able by hard work and self-sacrifice – some at the cost of their lives – to build a better future. They shaped fundamental values which will endure forever in the spirit of the American people. A people with this spirit can live through many crises, tensions and conflicts, while always finding the resources to move forward, and to do so with dignity. These men and women offer us a way of seeing and interpreting reality. In honoring their memory, we are inspired, even amid conflicts, and in the here and now of each day, to draw upon our deepest cultural reserves.

I would like to mention four of these Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.

This year marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the guardian of liberty, who labored tirelessly that “this nation, under God, [might] have a new birth of freedom”. Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity.

All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject.

Our response must instead be one of hope and healing, of peace and justice. We are asked to summon the courage and the intelligence to resolve today’s many geopolitical and economic crises. Even in the developed world, the effects of unjust structures and actions are all too apparent. Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples. We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.

The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States. The complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience.

In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society. It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.

Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.

Here too I think of the march which Martin Luther King led from Selma to Montgomery fifty years ago as part of the campaign to fulfill his “dream” of full civil and political rights for African Americans. That dream continues to inspire us all. I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of “dreams”. Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people.

In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants. Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident that we can do this.

Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12).

This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.

In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.

How much progress has been made in this area in so many parts of the world! How much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty! I know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost. At the same time I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem.

It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. “Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good” (Laudato Si’, 129). This common good also includes the earth, a central theme of the encyclical which I recently wrote in order to “enter into dialogue with all people about our common home” (ibid., 3). “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all” (ibid., 14).

In Laudato Si’, I call for a courageous and responsible effort to “redirect our steps” (ibid., 61), and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play. Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a “culture of care” (ibid., 231) and “an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature” (ibid., 139). “We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology” (ibid., 112); “to devise intelligent ways of… developing and limiting our power” (ibid., 78); and to put technology “at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral” (ibid., 112). In this regard, I am confident that America’s outstanding academic and research institutions can make a vital contribution in the years ahead.

A century ago, at the beginning of the Great War, which Pope Benedict XV termed a “pointless slaughter”, another notable American was born: the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton. He remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people. In his autobiography he wrote: “I came into the world. Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born. That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God, and yet hating him; born to love him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers”. Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.

From this perspective of dialogue, I would like to recognize the efforts made in recent months to help overcome historic differences linked to painful episodes of the past. It is my duty to build bridges and to help all men and women, in any way possible, to do the same. When countries which have been at odds resume the path of dialogue – a dialogue which may have been interrupted for the most legitimate of reasons – new opportunities open up for all. This has required, and requires, courage and daring, which is not the same as irresponsibility. A good political leader is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism. A good political leader always opts to initiate processes rather than possessing spaces (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 222-223).

Being at the service of dialogue and peace also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world. Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.

Three sons and a daughter of this land, four individuals and four dreams: Lincoln, liberty; Martin Luther King, liberty in plurality and non-exclusion; Dorothy Day, social justice and the rights of persons; and Thomas Merton, the capacity for dialogue and openness to God.

I will end my visit to your country in Philadelphia, where I will take part in the World Meeting of Families. It is my wish that throughout my visit the family should be a recurrent theme. How essential the family has been to the building of this country! And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement! Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.

In particular, I would like to call attention to those family members who are the most vulnerable, the young. For many of them, a future filled with countless possibilities beckons, yet so many others seem disoriented and aimless, trapped in a hopeless maze of violence, abuse and despair. Their problems are our problems. We cannot avoid them. We need to face them together, to talk about them and to seek effective solutions rather than getting bogged down in discussions. At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that we live in a culture which pressures young people not to start a family, because they lack possibilities for the future. Yet this same culture presents others with so many options that they too are dissuaded from starting a family.

A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to “dream” of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton.

In these remarks I have sought to present some of the richness of your cultural heritage, of the spirit of the American people. It is my desire that this spirit continue to develop and grow, so that as many young people as possible can inherit and dwell in a land which has inspired so many people to dream.

God bless America!

Read more...

Here's the schedule for Pope Francis in Washington, D.C.

 

Pope Francis is making his first visit to the United States to attend the Conference on the Family in Philadelphia and the U.N. session on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Prior to those events, the Pontiff will be in Washington, D.C. from Tuesday until Thursday afternoon.

First, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as Vice President Joe Biden and Second Lady Jill Biden, will greet Francis upon his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George’s County on Tuesday afternoon.

The President, the first lady, the vice president, the second lady and members of the president’s team will have an arrival ceremony to great Pope Francis on the South Lawn of the White House Wednesday morning.

Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, said he expects upwards of 10,000 people to attend the greeting. Obama and Francis will meet privately in the Oval Office after the arrival ceremony.

They also met privately when Obama visited the Pope at the Vatican last year.

Members of the public can line the streets on the National Mall and the Ellipse to watch the pope ride in the “popemobile” along 15th Street, NW; Constitution Avenue; and 17th Street, NW starting at 4 a.m. for the Pope Parade Wednesday, according to the Archdiocese of Washington.

Participants can enter through security gates for the Ellipse and the National Mall until 10 a.m., after which no one can enter or exit the gates.

In the afternoon after he leaves the White House, Pope Francis will travel along 15th Street, NW; Constitution Avenue; and 17th Street, NW, according to the Archdiocese of Washington.

The pope is scheduled to lead a midday prayer with U.S. bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle Wednesday.

Members of the public with tickets may celebrate the Mass at the east portico of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at The Catholic University of America. During the mass, Francis is due to canonize blessed Junipera Serra, making him a saint. The Papal Mass is scheduled to be live-streamed at 4:15 p.m.

 

Read more...

Board of Education member sued

 

ROCKVILLE - An attorney is suing Montgomery County Board of Education member Christopher Barclay (D -4) for unpaid hourly services from his divorce in 2013.

Donna Rismiller, a family lawyer, is suing Barclay for $9,824.72, according to court documents. As of April 21, Barclay owes Rismiller $11,666.74, including more than $2,600 in interest, the documents state.

The June 30 document showed Barclay is projected to owe $11,915.84 – that includes an interest rate of $2,857.76.

Read more...

Metro derailment halts service on three lines

metro logo

A non-commuter train approaching a switch by the Smithsonian Metro station derailed early Thursday, shutting down both tracks of the Blue, Orange and Silver lines.

The operator was the only person on the train and wasn’t injured, according to a Metro spokesperson.

Metro officials encouraged commuters to ride Metrobus shuttles as an alternative to those three lines until further notice. Tracks may be shut down through the afternoon and into tonight, according to Metro spokesperson Sherri Ly.

Timothy Wilson, a spokesperson for the Washington, D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, said rescue crews sent fire engines to the scene but left the scene approximately 20 minutes after arriving. He added the department averages one call from Metro per month.

Read more...

Community leaders angry with education budget

BOETableLarge20131218 1ROCKVILLE - Community organizations are not happy with the proposed Montgomery County Public School operating budget for the 2013-2014 school year. 
At the “Book Club Budgetpalooza,” members from the Montgomery County Civic Federation, the Parents’ Coalition of Montgomery County and the Montgomery County Tax Payers League went through the proposed $2.2 billion budget chapter by chapter.
Complaints about the budget included the absence of transparency in the budget process, secret meetings, sloppy documentation, a large percentage paid to direct overhead and lower pay for red zone teachers – teachers paid less than other teachers because of lower student scores.

Read more...

Canadian Geese population in county rises

DNR logoANNAPOLIS - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources released its 2013 midwinter waterfowl survey last week, showing the Canada goose population has increased by more than 25 percent since last year.
Canada geese comprise more than half of the total population of waterfowl in Maryland.
“The goose population is greater than the ecosystem can handle,” Julie Lawson, spokesperson for the Anacostia Watershed Society, said.
“We have been getting calls from people about seeing geese in places they don’t normally,” Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles of the National Park Service said.

Read more...

Josiah Henson to be honored

UncleTomCabin2BETHESDA - Josiah Henson, the inspiration for George Harris in Harriet Beecher Stover’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabinet,” will be honored with a museum here called the Josiah Henson Park.
Last week, Ellen Emmett of Montgomery Parks, Larissa Hallgren, exhibit designer for Experience Design, and architect Robert Kinsley laid out preliminary plans at a meeting at Tilden Middle School. 
Preliminary designs for the 1.5 acre, 3,000 sq. ft facility include a 2200 sq. ft. welcome center with a gathering space, retail shop, restrooms, lunch area and 60-seat multimedia theater, all of which may be used as event space. It is estimated to hold 100 people, who will be separated into 15 person groups as each room holds 15-17 people. The museum will be housed on the former Riley Plantation. 
From 1795-1830, Henson lived on the Issac Riley Plantation, at 11420 Old Georgetown Rd. in modern day Bethesda, as a slave before escaping to Canada. His 1849 autobiography, “The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by Himself” is believed to have inspired the Beecher’s novel. 
Tom Kehhuas, director of Montgomery County Historical Society said he is happy Henson’s contribution to history will be honored. “He was a very important figure, not only locally but nationally. He was the model for the fictional Uncle Tom and there is no Uncle Tom’s Cabin without him. Without that there is no bringing the enslaved to national prominence and without that novel, there may not have been a civil war. This story needs to be told,” said Tom Kehhuas, director of Montgomery County Historical Society. 
Montgomery Parks Project manager Eileen Emmett said the museum is still in its early planning stages and nothing will be finalized until mid-year. 
Planning is 30 percent complete, with final plans scheduled to be submitted to the Montgomery County Planning Board in June. The completed plans will account for five parking spaces, two handicaps, one staff, and two visitors. The museum estimates that the majority of visitors will arrive by bus. 
If the plans are approved, the next steps will be a public hearing, a county council hearing, and then getting the museum funded for the 2015-2020 fiscal years. The National Park Service and the county’s Historic Preservation Committee are asking for a $100,000 federal grant.
The museum is predicted to open in 2018. 
In celebration of black history month, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and Montgomery Parks are currently offering guided tours at the site. The tours are offered every Saturday in February between 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm.

Read more...