2023 Annual Report

African American Resources, Cultural and Heritage Society

Executive Director and Board President Message

Founded in 2001 and incorporated in 2009, AARCH Society’s mission is to identify, collect, preserve, and make publicly accessible through programs and services the objects, artifacts and stories about the history and contributions of African Americans in Frederick. In partnership with the City of Frederick and Frederick County government, AARCH Society is renovating and converting a long-vacant city owned property into the new Heritage Center in the heart of downtown Frederick’s Historic District. The 3,200 square feet center will feature the core exhibit “Our Journey, Our Stories” to chronicle and interpret the experience of African Americans in Frederick County during the last 200 years, and our shared history as Marylanders and Americans. We plan a Fall 2024 preview opening of the Heritage Center, and grand opening in 2025.

In line with our strategic plan, AARCH Society’s fundraising and resource development efforts continue to focus on securing support for the immediate and long-term needs of the Heritage Center: exhibit planning; construction planning; and organizational capacity building. Our capital campaign continues. To date, we have raised 40% of our $1.4 million goal. The generosity of our donors and supporters is critical as we chart our growth and posture as a collecting organization. Our soon-to-launch Online Store will feature customized AARCH Society mugs and T-shirts.

Delaplaine Foundation members present check to AARCH Society

The Delaplaine Foundation, Inc. awarded AARCH Society a $100,000 three-year installment grant for the continuing development of the “Our Journey, Our Stories” core exhibit and special rotating exhibits at the forthcoming Heritage Center. Pictured, Chairman George B. Delaplaine, Jr., President Marlene Young, with AARCH Society Executive Director Dr. Cheryl Renee Gooch.

Access to Fredrick County history through an African American lens is central to AARCH Society’s mission to educate and empower current and future generations and attract tourists and visitors. Contributions and financial support are critical to this mission.

Cheryl Renée Gooch, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Protean Gibril

Board President

Programs and Special Initiatives

During 2023, AARCH Society expanded our programs and reach. Highlights include:

  • Introducing 350 people to historic trailblazers, sites, and events through our  popular Cultural Heritage Walking Tours
  • Hosting or supporting 30 events on African American history and issues
  • Offering adult learning classes at Frederick County Community College
  • Collaborating with Maryland Ensemble Theatre on “South and Saints” production
  • Premiering “Back to our Bygone Days,” an oral history documentary film of the Lincoln School
  • Providing technical assistance and guidance to two major historical resource studies focusing on African American life and history in Frederick County

Through our programs and services, AARCH Society touches people of all backgrounds who are interested in the rich dimensions of the African American experience.

Inaugural Unity Ball

In partnership with the Jack and Jill of America Foundation Western Maryland Chapter, AARCH Society held a gala to raise funds for the Heritage Center and supplemental scholarships for HCBU (Historically Black College and University students. Close to 200 guests supported the event. Attendees included Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor and key stakeholders.

Commission to Study African American Civil War Soldiers in Maryland

AARCH Society was invited to provide testimony to the House Health and Government Operations Committee, Maryland State Assembly, to support House Bill 133 to establish a Commission to Study African American Civil War Soldiers in Maryland. An active partner of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, AARCH Society’s exhibits and programs will feature stories and artifacts about the more than 400 African American Frederick County men who served in the U.S. army during the Civil War. A recent acquisition includes a full 54th Massachusetts re-enactor uniform that was featured in the film Glory.

Bringing Frederick County’s Civil Rights History to Life

Logo of african american person walking in front of american flagAARCH Society became a member of the National Park Service African American Civil Rights Network. A sizable portion of AARCH Society’s collection is devoted to Civil Rights issues that are and will continue to be covered in our exhibits and interpretive programs. This national recognition paves the way for us to share the artifacts, historical publications and more in our unique, growing collection that reflect Frederick County’s rich Civil Rights history and activism from the 19th century to the present.

Fundraising and Revenue Generating Overview

Grants Awarded in 2023

·        Tourism Council of Frederick County, Inc.

·        Maryland Commission for African American Heritage
         and Culture

·        Delaplaine Foundation, Inc.

·        Ausherman Family Foundation, Inc.

·        Maryland Heritage Area Authority

·        Maryland Department of General Services

·        Maryland Humanities

·        Frederick County Government

·        City of Frederick

·        First Energy Foundation

·        Community Foundation of Frederick County, Maryland

·        Rural Maryland Council

Learn About AARCH Society's Heritage Center Campaign Here

AARCH Society Board of Directors

AARCH Society is grateful to our Board members who volunteer their time and talents to promote our Mission and Vision.

Protean Gibril, President

Seaven Gordon, Vice President

Barbara Thompson, Secretary

Niya Yeboah, Corresponding Secretary

Zolinka McCauley, Treasurer

Marcus Allen

Sonja (Dee) Brown-Jenkins​

David Butler, Jr.

Catherine Canning

Rose Chaney (founding member)

Tiana Haile

Sharon Isaacs

Gary Rollins

Cindy Taylor

Alyssa Watson

Senator Ronald Young, Jr.

Mary Harris, Honorary Board Member (founding member)

We call attention to our Legacy Council and thank them for their service over the years: Theresa Brown, Virginia Carroll, Beverly Ford, Ernell Graham, Shirley Grier, Nobel Harris, Velma Lawson, Alyce Luck, Sandra Makel, Gerald Palm. 

Enjoy Photos from a Few of Our Events and Activities During 2023