On May 29, 1914, 105 years ago today, the Harriet Tubman Charity Circle of Baltimore, Maryland was founded in what is now known as historic Old West Baltimore. The Charity Circle was established a year after Harriet Tubman's death in March 1913.
The members of the board in 1916 were:
Mr. Robert L. Henson, President
Mrs. Annie Woodland, Vice President Mrs. Blanche Kent, Treasurer Mrs. Julia A. Kelly, Treasurer of Sinking Fund Miss Ellen Bryant, Acting Financial Secretary Mrs. Bessie L. Harman, Recording Secretary Mr. Thomas Gordy, Chaplain Mr. Robert Hatton, Marshall
Below are two excerpts from the Afro American Newspaper of Baltimore, MD, which detailed the activities of the Charity Circle:
"The Harriet Tubman Charity Circle, of Baltimore, had their first annual sermon preached to them Sunday evening, January 30, 1916 at Allen A.M.E. Church (Lexington & Carlton Streets) by the Pastor Rev. J.P. Jordan." (February 5, 1916)
"The Harriet Tubman Charity Circle of Balto. City will have its annual sermon preached to it by Rev. W.S. Thomas, D.D. Pastor, Sunday evening, October 21, at 8 o’clock at Metropolitan M.E. Church, Orchard Street near Druid Hill Avenue." (October 20, 1917)
Presently, this badge is the only one in existence and is a part of the larger Bryant/Trotter/ King Collection housed within the Nanny Jack & Co Archives. According to granddaughter Edwina King, her grandfather and grandmother, John Henry Trotter and Ellen Bryant Trotter are interred in Mount Auburn Cemetery (Baltimore, Maryland), also known as The City of the Dead for Colored People. Ellen served as the Acting Financial Secretary for the Tubman Charity Circle, while John was an active member of the group.
The ability to tell a story about an artifact and connect it to people, places, and organizations help to make it more relevant to the present generation.