Nonprofit Spotlight

Nonprofit Spotlight

 Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions

Share your history, share your story


The Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions (UCAC) was founded by Elmer Brown Sr. in 1995 with a mission “to document, increase understanding of and foster African American contributions to the history and development of St. Mary’s County while advocating for improvements in health, education, and community building for all citizens of St. Mary’s County.”
To achieve this mission, Elmer and UCAC members erected a monument attesting to the struggles and accomplishments of the county’s Black population as an initial project. The African American Monument, dedicated on July 29, 2000, brings attention to the numerous contributions of Black people to the county’s quality of life. The pyramid design of the monument is constructed of roughhewn natural stone representing life’s continuous struggle as inspired by the gospel song "Rough Side of the Mountain." An eternal flame tops the pyramid which is surrounded by six pedestals mounted with bronze plaques describing the positive influence of African Americans on the county’s history. 
The second of UCAC’s monuments, dedicated on June 12, 2012 in Lancaster Park, the United States Colored Troops Memorial, honors the USCT soldiers from St. Mary’s county. UCAC established one of but a handful of United States Colored Troops Interpretative Centers in the country. The Center is located within walking distance of the monument and is opened upon request.
UCAC was also instrumental in bringing about the renovation of the Drayden African American Schoolhouse, deemed the nation’s best preserved one-room schoolhouse. Built in 1890 and used until 1944, the building still occupies the original property.
To bring history to life, UCAC hosts an annual Juneteenth Festival which, according to UCAC President Michael Brown -- and Elmer Brown’s son -- is now credited as the largest of such festivals in Maryland. There will be history tours, including the USCT Monument, Drayden School House, and the African American Monument and Interpretative Center, with social distancing enforced. In addition, a live jazz concert is scheduled from 4 - 6 p.m.
Capturing the stories of individuals, both black and white, has shaped much of UCAC’s work befitting their motto “share your history, share your story.” To date, UCAC members have recorded and transcribed over 175 oral histories. A sample of these recordings can be accessed through UCAC’s website while all of the recordings and transcriptions can be found in the SlackWater Archives at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. 
UCAC’s work honors the legacy of St. Mary’s Black residents from Maryland’s founding onward. Sharing that story through monuments, oral histories, preserved sites, events, and literature allows those who are interested to understand this history in a very personal way. For more information about UCAC, visit the UCAC website or follow them on Facebook

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Nonprofit Institute
College of Southern Maryland
PO Box 910
La Plata, MD 20646-0910

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