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The African American Community in Cambridge, MD

Historic Pine Street District

A community in transition.  From the 1920s through the 1960s, the Pine Street neighborhood was a thriving hub of African American business and culture. Majority of the buildings were Black-owned--homes, convenience stores, restaurants, gas stations, nightclubs, hotels, and salons were among the structures. 

During the years preceding the start of the Civil Rights movement, Pine Street became a popular destination of the “ Chitlin Circuit” for humdreds of  black musicians looking for work during the eras of big bands, blues, soul, and jazz performances.

Pine Street may not be the downtown it once was, but it is still a significant hub for African American life and culture in Cambridge today. It is a distinct component of Cambridge's history and culture, nevertheless.

Mural on pine.webp

The Pine Street Mural

This mural is located on the corner of Cedar and Pine Streets.  The mural depicts a scene from the Civil rights movement. On the left shows, H. Rap Brown, who was the Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.  During a speech, Rap Brown urged the African American community to intensify their efforts towards achieving equality.  In the background, shows the burning down of the buildings on Pine Street, which happened several hours later after H. Rap Brown speech.  It is said that the city officials kept the firefighters away from the scene for safety reasons. Much of Pine Street's well-known downtown was reduced to ashes as the fire stretched across two square blocks.  The cause of the fire was not confirmed.

Also in the mural is Gloria Richardson who lived in Cambridge and was one of the few women leading the national civil rights movement.


On the right shows what the building once was – a gas station.

The mural was painted by artist, Bobbie J0-Elle Ennels and completed in December 2021.

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