Thursday, July 05, 2007

Should the Red Barn at No Point Farm in Dameron Maryland be BARN AGAIN!?

Located at No Point Farm on St. Jeromes Neck in Dameron Maryland this particular barn was built by my grandfather, Walter Biscoe, in the 1960's.

As one of the largest black land owners on St. Jeromes Neck Road Walter and Violet Biscoe were well respected. And always held their own.

My grandfather often told the story that in order for him to have purchased the land he had to get a Jewish man to purchase it first. And then resell it to him. Because no good standing white folk, at that time, would sell land to Negroes. Since it was not uncommon for KKK members who lived on the nearby farms to threaten my grandparents they pointed out areas, to me, in the woods behind the garden that my grandfather had often found crosses carved into the bark of trees. Since, I had always been fascinated with 'the woods' my grandparents often told me 'be careful about going back there ...!".

A few years ago when I visited West Virginia with Bill Ware I came to realize that my fascination with 'the woods' may be connected to a previous life when as a 'run away slave' that 'the woods became my safe haven and 'passage to freedom'.

The Norrises, as were most of the families on St. Jerome Neck Road, were white. Many who also owned large farms. It was not too uncommon, at that time, for my older brother Bernard Jr and the Norris boys to play together when they were at a younger age since my mother sometimes worked as their maid.

But, once they reached their teens years, white teen males were discouraged from maintaining a relatiionship with their negro childhood friends. Often the relationships had blossomed as a result of the fact that many Negro women worked in the homes of white families.

In fact, this is a matter that former President Jimmy Carter recently spoke on as having still been the case, in recent years, when his son reached 13 or so.

I've always regarded my grandparents as important figures not only in our lives but in the history of America. And have contemplated spearheading a project that would place the No Point Farm on the National Trust for Historic Preservation Register.

So when I came across Barn Again! last fall I immediately thought of the remaining red barn at No Point Farm. Which was constructed by my grandfather, Walter Biscoe.

My recent visit to St. Mary's County for the 2007 Juneteenth Celebration at Freedom Park in Lexington Park has reminded me of the rich heritage and contributions that African Americans have made to St. Mary's County Maryland. As was highlighted in the recently published book "In Relentless Pursuit of an Education".

Putting together a July 2007 - June 2007 Family Calendar in celebration of my sister, Bevaline's, birthday when selecting an image of the red barn as the calendar's cover I was again reminded that efforts should be taken to register it on the National Historic Trust For Preservation Barn Again! Registry. Which I do not find any programs listed for the state of Maryland.

When speaking with Alonzo Gaskin of the St. Mary's County NAACP during the 2007 Juneteenth Celebration regarding the importance that his mother, Elvare Gaskin, had played in his life and the community I, again, contemplated sharing with him my interest in spearheAding a project in the preservation of my grandparents' farm, No Point Farm, as an important heritage of and contribution to the African American community in St. Mary's County. As well as to the history of America!