Bringing Our History to Life

Our Founders

The African American Resources Cultural and Heritage (AARCH) Society was incorporated as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit in 2009 to celebrate and illuminate the rich contributions and history of African Americans in Frederick County.

AARCH Society was the vision of the late William O. Lee, Jr. (1928-2004), a lifelong resident of Frederick, an educator, and an Alderman active in numerous civic organizations.

Mr. Lee’s mission to establish the Society was galvanized by the self-guided African American Heritage Walking Tour Guide of Frederick produced in 2001 by the Frederick Historic Sites Consortium of the Tourism Council of Frederick County.

Maryland’s Historical and Cultural Museum Assistance Program and The Community Foundation of Frederick provided funding support for the Guide.

Mr. Lee saw the value that creating a permanent facility focused on local African American life and history would provide for citizens of Frederick County, as well as the surrounding regions and far beyond.

This vision was carried forward by David V. Key (1942–2021). A community leader, Key was a passionate advocate of accurate documentation of the African American history, culture and legacy in Frederick, Maryland. He served as AARCH Society President from the time of its incorporation until his death, serving as its greatest advocate and champion.  

“AARCH will be the bridge, sharing first-hand experiences of African Americans in Frederick County. Our stories, experiences and contributions need to be told and deserve to be heard.”