CSM, Charles County Celebrate 350 Years

Friday Night Lectures focus on County's Early History

LA PLATA, Md. (Jan. 9, 2008)—The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) and the Charles County 350th Celebration Committee, in cooperation with the Charles County Heritage Commission, will present three lectures on the history of Charles County as part of the CSM Friday Lecture series.

Featured speakers will be Scott S. Hill of the Thomas Stone National Historic Site, Vincent O. Leggett, founder of the Blacks of the Chesapeake Foundation, and Christine Arnold-Lourie, a CSM history professor.

"Charles County has a fascinating history and it is my hope that people will come out and learn about the men and women who shaped this dynamic region of Southern Maryland," said Hill. He will launch the series Jan. 11 with the lecture, "Well Disposed to Give Battle: The Patriots of Charles County," about the role of Charles County citizens in the Revolutionary War. "The patriots of Charles County have few if any books written about them and those men and women who risked their lives, fortunes and honor, in pursuit of the dream of an independent America," added Hill.

The series will continue on Feb. 8 when Leggett traces the path of escaping slaves in his lecture, "Searching for the Lost Tracks of the Underground Railroad through Southern Maryland." The third in the series will be presented on March 14 by Arnold-Lourie, who will provide a view into the lives of Charles County residents with her lecture, "Letters from Home: Charles County in the 19th Century."

Arnold-Lourie, whose lecture includes correspondence written and received by Charles County residents through the 19th century, noted, "I'd like to help tell the story of the lives of the county's residents through their own words as they write about everyday topics. I'll share letters from students attending school away waiting for Christmas packages, descriptions of the county fairs, and inquires about the all-important tobacco crop. So often, history tells only the big stories-like the hunt for John Wilkes Booth. Reading words written over 100 years ago, and learning about the struggles and joys of everyday life will help make the past real and alive."

As Charles County celebrates 350 years during 2008, CSM's lecture series is just one of many events, publications and displays that are planned throughout the year for all ages. For information as Charles County "Celebrates the Past and Embraces the Future" to honor its 350th anniversary, call 301-885-1342 or visit http://www.explorecharlescomd.com/350th/.

During 2008, CSM will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

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