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June Virtual Lunch and Learn

June 8, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

African American Land Conservation and Heritage Preservation: Black Beaches & Recreation

Please join us online for a highly anticipated discussion with Vince Leggett about his most recent projects, including the preservation of historic Maryland beaches and recreation areas.
Vince Leggett is the founder and President of Blacks of the Chesapeake Foundation which documents, promotes and educates on the significant contributions of African Americans to the bay’s maritime industries and culture. The Library of Congress designated the Blacks of the Chesapeake as a Local Legacy Project in 2000. The centerpiece of that submission was Leggett’s two publications, Blacks of the Chesapeake: An Integral Part of Maritime History (1998) and The Chesapeake Bay Through Ebony Eyes (1999). Leggett’s seminal research project, Chesapeake Underground: Charting a Course Toward Freedom (2000) examines how extensively the bay and its tributaries were utilized to help deliver Africans to freedom. The governor of Maryland appointed and commissioned Leggett as an honorary “Admiral of the Chesapeake.” Through this work, Leggett provides training in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion. As an advocate for change through the legal system, Vince enlists his position as president and CEO of the Leggett Group (USA) consulting firm to advance environmental and social justice for African Americans. He also represents the interests of the African American community as a board member of the Chesapeake Legal Alliance. Additional leadership positions held include Chaplain for the City of Annapolis Fire Department, President of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education, Chair of the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center, CEO of the Housing Commission of Anne Arundel County and CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis.Leggett is a highly respected lecturer and historical consultant on national and international features on the Underground Railroad. In 2022, Leggett was featured in national broadcasts produced by the PBS, Science Channel and Discovery+, plus locally on Maryland Public Television.

For the last 15 years, Leggett has worked tirelessly to conserve Elktonia Beach, a 5-acre waterfront parcel on the Chesapeake Bay and the last remnant of the original 180-acre property purchased by Fred Carr in 1902. Carr’s and Sparrow’s Beaches were privately-owned and operated by Fred Carr’s daughters, Elizabeth Carr Smith and Florence Carr Sparrow. “The Beaches” (1930s-1970s), as they were called, represented the heart of entertainment throughout the mid-Atlantic region and welcomed Blacks during a time of segregation. With the help of Chesapeake Conservancy, the City of Annapolis, The Conservation Fund and federal and state funding, in August of 2022, Elktonia Beach became a public park.Partners are striving for Elktonia/Carr’s Beach to become the future home for the Blacks of the Chesapeake Foundation Headquarters, Educational, Historical, Cultural & Environmental Center. This $7 million project was a multi-year collaboration for Blacks of the Chesapeake Foundation with state, local and federal partners and is a delivered promise on diversity, equity and inclusion in policy making.