Dock of the Bay

Volume VI Number 11
March 19-25, 1998


  • AA Women of Color Get a Bit of Their Due
  • Maryland Honors Her-oes
  • Motorcyclists Beat Back MD at Black & Blue Ball
  • Way Downstream

  • AA Women of Color Get a Bit of Their Due

    Honored award winners Donice Damica Cully, top left, Dorothy Lee Vauls, Kimberly Giles and Christen Goodwine

    "I was very nervous but so glad that women of color have recognized me for what I've done all these years," said Josephine Gross, of the prestigious Pathfinder's Award presented to her with rousing applause and warmed hearts at the sixth Tribute to Women of Color awards ceremony in Annapolis last Saturday.

    Gross, 72, is a modest woman yet one who seems to believe there is nothing she cannot do. Her creativity is irrepressible. Teaching herself or spring-boarding off short classes, she has tried her hand - successfully - at sewing, millinery, painting, sculpture, and creative writing. Her Hats Designed by Lady Josette gained wide popularity; her art has shown at Banneker-Douglass Museum; her story of A Boy with a Dream - Richard Allen, who rose from slavery to establish the first Black African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States - was dramatized at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.

    "Mrs. Gross has encouraged young and old alike to look for their creativity," said Dr. Donna Chambers, who nominated Josephine Gross as Pathfinder of the year.

    All the while, this daughter of a minister in St. Mary's County, kept house for her husband of over half a century, raised four children who have given her five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, supported her church - Mt. Olive AME - and made time to visit shut-ins and nursing home residents.

    Now that Gross has laurels, she's no more likely to rest. Right now, she's writing a cookbook of traditional recipes. Next March she wants to return to the Tribute to Women of Color ceremony as a giver, swelling with her gift the number of scholarships awarded to high-schoolers.

    The awards recognize women behind the scenes who have given volunteer services to the community as pathfinders and youth leaders. They are given by A Tribute to Women of Color in partnership with the YWCA Racial Justice Committee, Anne Arundel Medical Center and Nationwide Insurance. All nominations come from the community.

    Sharing honors with Gross for uncommon dedication to reach out beyond themselves into the world is Ramona Green.

    Green received this year's Service to Youth award for educational leadership on several fronts. A home-teacher, she taught for many years in both Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County. She has tutored reading at both Tyler Heights and West Annapolis elementary schools and taught Sunday school at St. Philip's Church. She co-chairs the Education Tent for the Kunta Kinte Festival and volunteers with Alpha Kappa Alpha.

    Also honored are 12 young women, mostly 11th and 12th graders, who receive Future Leader scholarships for the promise they show of living up to the high standards set by this year's adult award winners:


    Maryland Honors Her-oes

    Five women have joined their sisters in the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame as a reward for their lasting contributions to Maryland's economic, political, cultural, and social life.

    "Throughout history, men have been honored simply for their accomplishments. Now, we honor women not because they are women, but because they have done incredible things for all people," Gov. Parris N. Glendening said at the 14th annual induction ceremony on March 3.

    To achieve this honor, a woman must have offered "visible role models of achievement for tomorrow's female leaders." She may be a contemporary or historic leader. Nominations to the Hall of Fame - which was created by Maryland Commission for Women and the Women Legislators of Maryland - are sought from organizations and the community at large.

    Since 1985, 70 women have joined this august gathering. There will be more. In the words of First Lady Frances Hughes Glendening, a long-time advocate of women's issues: "We must continue bringing women's history to the forefront, to ensure our young people learn the complete history of our State and nation.

    Recognized this year for their outstanding contributions to Maryland were:

    Constance Ross Beims, of Harford County Educator, volunteer, wife and mother, Constance Ross Beims was the guiding force in establishing the University of Maryland's Commission on Women and helped to open the doors for women in all levels of governmental and academic decision-making. Presently, she serves on Maryland's Commission on Judicial Disabilities, which investigates citizen complaints against lawyers and judges.

    Mary Carter Smith, of Baltimore A familiar and beloved voice within the African American culture, Mary Carter Smith is Maryland's official griot, or storyteller. She is nationally known for reviving and promoting storytelling as an art, a teaching tool and a form of communication. Smith taught in the Baltimore City Public Schools for 30 years and is a founding member of Big Sisters International. A co-founder of the National Association of Black Storytellers, Smith has been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the association.

    Elaine Ryan Hedges (1927-1997) of Baltimore Nationally and internationally recognized scholar and author Elaine Ryan Hedges stood at the forefront in the development of Women's Studies in the 1970s and was a founding member of the National Women's Studies Association. The program she founded at Towson University is recognized as one of the best nationally.

    Many of her articles and books on women continue to be read in college classrooms across the nation.

    Martha Ellicott Tyson (1795-1873) of Howard and Harford Counties Born in Ellicott Mills, Martha Elliott Tyson was an educator, anti-slavery advocate and member of the Quaker Society of Friends. She authored A sketch of the life of Benjamin Banneker and helped establish the second co-educational college in the United States, Swarthmore College, providing rare educational opportunities to women. Tyson's award was accepted by her great, great, great granddaughter, Martha Clark Crist.

    Mary Katherine Goddard (1738-1816) of Kent County A printer, editor and newspaper publisher at the Maryland Journal, Mary Katherine Goddard achieved a string of firsts. As Baltimore's only printer, she produced the first printed copy of the Declaration of Independence. In 1775, she became postmaster of Baltimore, only to be relieved of her duties 14 years later on the grounds that her new responsibilities involving travel were more than a woman could handle. She remained in Baltimore and operated a bookshop. She is buried in the graveyard at St. Paul's Parish.

    -M.L. Faunce

    Motorcyclists Beat Back MD at Black & Blue Ball

    The only guests to leave the second annual Black and Blue Ball bruised and beaten last Friday night were those outbid in the charity auction.

    In fact, it was good food, fine company and lots of fun at the fundraiser sponsored jointly by Harley-Davidson of Annapolis and Eastern Petroleum to raise money for research to combat muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular diseases.

    "The best way to raise money is to have fun," said Harley-Davidson of Annapolis' Scott Gibson.

    Held at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Annapolis, the event drew 185 guests who apparently relished the opportunity to combine formal-wear with motorcycle regalia.

    "I liked seeing the people dressed up since we're used to seeing bikers in their leathers and blue jeans," said Gibson. "It was nice to see them in bow-ties and their blue jeans."

    Amongst the men, blue jeans complemented black ties, black leather accented black silk and satin. Women clad in cocktail dresses and gowns shared the ballroom with those outfitted in body-hugging leather motorcycle pants and skirts.

    Adding chrome and steel to the evening was a 1998 Harley-Davidson Road King Classic with leather saddle bags and white-walled tires propped on its kick-stand just inside the doorway. Everyone attending got their photo taken astride the hog - that's short for Harley Owners Group.

    The man behind the camera, Webster Wright Jr., of Web photography, shot more than 150 pictures, mostly of couples but some singles and triples, on the cycle.

    "It was an up-scale and very fun charity event," Wright said. "I had an absolute ball. There were a lot of good people having a real good time." Wright, who has photographed both Black and Blue Balls, donated his services. Fuji film donated the film and Vista Photography in Odenton donated the processing.

    A silent auction for early arriving guests items ranging from Tiffany crystal to contemporary glass, from dinner and video gift certificates to a month membership at Merritt Athletic Club, from a signed Joan Baez book to World Wrestling Federation memorabilia.

    The fun warmed up as the live auction commenced, but only after guests had the chance to loosen up with cocktails and a buffet dinner. Larry Makowski, of Express Auction Marketing Specialists, began the heated bidding on 15 donated items.

    "It was exciting seeing the people go crazy for the auction items," said Gibson.

    Among them was a Citgo gas-powered mini-car. Valued at $950 and worth its weight - and cost - in joy to any child of any age, the souped-up go-cart sold for $980.

    Probably the best deal was a Queen Anne-styled dining room table with six matching chairs valued at $1,800 that, when the smoke cleared. had sold for a mere $790.

    "I bid on and won the last item, the autographed T-shirt with Jerry Seinfeld, Jerry Springer, Jerry Lewis, Ed McMahon and others, for $350," Gibson said.

    Another hot item was a day on the Maryland Senate floor with motorcycle enthusiast Sen. John Astle. During the evening, more than one guest asked his stand on Maryland's helmet law, a query the senator tactfully side-stepped.

    "My dad bid and got the day with Sen. John Astle," said Gibson. "I'm hoping he'll let me do it."

    The most popular item on the auction block, without a doubt, was a framed and numbered print by Neil Harp titled, On the City Dock. Using subdued and tasteful pastel colors, the piece featured a group of motorcycles kick-standed in downtown Annapolis with the city dock in the background. Valued at $279, the print fetched more than $1,000, and for a time it seemed that bid might turn to blows over the coveted piece of art.

    When all was over, the two auctions raised $10,150.

    When the evening was over, the Black and Blue Ball had raised for the Muscular Dystrophy Association some $12,500 from its $35-$45 ticket price and the two auctions.

    "We've doubled the amount we raised from last year and we had more people there. We couldn't be happier," said Stacey Ingerson, district director of the association.

    "All the money is used for local patients, buying wheel chairs, braces trips to our clinic at Johns Hopkins, Children's Medical Center and our Children's Summer Camp in Leonardtown," said Ingerson. It also supports a study aimed at combating two childhood forms of muscular dystrophy. Said Ingerson: "We're on the cusp of a breakthrough."


    Way Downstream ...

    In New Jersey, state legislators have a plan to preserve open space (what's left of it) with a new lottery game. The Assembly's Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee this week is considering a new $1 Pick-6 game with proceeds to the environment ...

    In Oregon, environmental sleuths traced a raw sewage spill back to the source: the government office that runs the area's stream protection program. Officials there were described as "flushed with embarrassment" when it was discovered that two of their bathrooms bypassed sewers and emptied directly into the Willamette River ...

    New Mexico officials are on their way to building a six-lane highway through the Petroglyph National Monument Park thanks to a vote last week in Washington in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The officials say that Albuquerque has expanded so much to the west that they have no alternative ...

    In Southern California, the Marine Corps is looking for a few good townhouses - and it looks like they'll get them, on a 60-foot-high plateau overlooking famed Trestle Beach on the Pacific Ocean north of San Diego. A federal appeals court refused last week to block construction of 76 townhouses sought by the Marines ...

    Our Creature Feature also comes from California, where the quest for cleaner energy has an unexpected cost: bird mortality.

    According to Monday's Contra Costa Times, operators of a commercial wind farm in California's Altamont Pass are looking for new technology in the wake of the deaths of 1,000 birds in recent years, among them 150 golden eagles and a peregrine falcon. They are considering building tubular towers without perching areas, installing slower-moving blades and even reducing the number of windmills to prevent bird deaths.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been investigating the deaths, but an agent said that prosecution is unlikely because the mortality is unintentional.


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