Treasure To Treasure: From Historic Old West Baltimore to the Sacred Grounds of Lincoln University


"Treasure to Treasure: The Old West Baltimore-Lincoln University, PA Alumni Connection" was a Title 3 funded project that focused on the lives of Lincoln University alumni and their varied connections with Old West Baltimore. The project took place from January 2016 until April 2016. The project was the idea of Philip J. Merrill, CEO and founder of Nanny Jack & Co., and his mother, Betty L. Merrill, the director of operations. The photographs, books, documents, and other artifacts related to the alumni were provided by the Nanny Jack & Co. archives. Dr. Marilyn Button, the chair of the English Department at Lincoln University, PA, was the project coordinator. Nwenna Gates, a screenwriting professor at Lincoln University, assisted with the research and helped to edit the final papers.

I was one of 4 Lincoln University students who were assigned alumni to research. The other three students were Talia Best, Bahijah Hasan, and Nafeece Beeks. A fifth student, Bianca Woodard, was responsible for documenting the experience of the project and creating a video. My alumni were Thurgood Marshall, Glenford P. Mussenden, Cedric E. Mills, and James C. Waters.

Although the project had its highs and lows, it opened my eyes to the contributions that prominent Lincoln University alumni, like Thurgood Marshall, Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr., Harry S. Cummings, as well as many others, made not only to Old West Baltimore, but to the nation and the world. The impact of their lives can be seen in areas such as education (Brown v. Board of Education), legislation (The Civil Rights Act of 1964), and politics (Harry S. Cummings was Baltimore's first black city councilman).

Although the project has ended, there are still countless and largely unknown stories of Lincoln University alumni and their Old West Baltimore roots that I plan to research and share.

Research Sessions in the Langston Hughes Memorial Library, Lincoln University, PA
BIANCA WOODARD (RIGHT) AND BETTY L. MERRILL (LEFT). PHOTO COURTESY OF NANNY JACK & CO.

PROFESSOR NWENNA GATES (LEFT) AND BETTY L. MERRILL (RIGHT). PHOTO COURTESY OF NANNY JACK & CO.

NAFEECE BEEKS (LEFT) AND PROFESSOR NWENNA GATES RESEARCH NAFEECE'S ALUMNI. PHOTO COURTESY OF NANNY JACK & CO.

BAHIJAH HASAN USES ARTIFACTS FROM THE NANNY JACK & COMPANY ARCHIVES TO TAKE NOTES ABOUT HER ALUMNI. PHOTO COURTESY OF NANNY JACK & CO.

Research Trips To Old West Baltimore

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: BETTY L. MERRILL, NAFEECE BEEKS, TALIA BEST, BAHIJAH HASAN, DR. MARILYN BUTTON, AND PHILIP J. MERRILL AT THE LILLIE CARROLL JACKSON CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM. PHOTO COURTESY OF NANNY JACK & CO.

IRIS L. BARNES, CURATOR, TALKING TO THE STUDENTS AT THE LILLIE CARROLL JACKSON CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM. PHOTO COURTESY OF NANNY JACK & CO.

STANDING: TALIA BEST, DR. MARILYN BUTTON, AND NAFEECE BEEKS. SITTING: PHILIP J. MERRILL, BETTY L. MERRILL, AND BAHIJAH HASAN. THE GROUP AT NANCY CAFE BY SNAC. PHOTO COURTESY OF NANNY JACK & CO.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: BIANCA WOODARD, NAFEECE BEEKS, PROFESSOR NWENNA GATES, BAHIJAH HASAN, TALIA BEST, AND PHILIP J. MERRILL WITH DR. EDWARD C. PAPENFUSE, THE RETIRED MARYLAND STATE ARCHIVIST AND COMMISSIONER OF LAND PATENTS, AT THE BALTIMORE CITY ARCHIVES. PHOTO COURTESY OF NANNY JACK & CO.

MACEDONIA BAPTIST CHURCH, AT THE CORNER OF FREMONT AVENUE AND LAFAYETTE AVENUE IN OLD WEST BALTIMORE. PHOTO COURTESY OF NANNY JACK & CO.

Project Presentations, April 16,2016, University Hall, Lincoln University, PA