"A Century of Black Life, History and Culture" In Montgomery County

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The Montgomery County Council on February 24 hosted a roundtable discussion with six long-time residents whose activism on civil rights and social justice issues played key roles in the County’s Civil Rights movement. This special event memorialized the oral histories of African-American leaders who have worked tirelessly to end discrimination and inequality. Among those who shared their experiences included Christine “Tina” Clarke, Warren Crutchfield, The Rev. Dr. Ruby Reese Moone, James Offord, Odessa Shannon and Harvey Zeigler.

Full Council Black History Month Roundtable Discussion, Feb. 24, 2015

“A Century of Black Life, History and Culture in Montgomery County”

Christine “Tina” Clarke

As a historian, Ms. Clarke serves as a witness to local African American history. She is known for always focusing on what is fair, just and equal.

At an early age, Ms. Clarke picketed the public library system. She is an avid reader, but growing up she was not allowed to receive a library card or read books in the library because of her skin color. Her fight for equality included marches at Glen Echo Park and other venues where she demanded equal access for all. Ms. Clarke is a member of Montgomery County’s Human Rights Hall of Fame.

Ms. Clarke is a Montgomery County native and has a family history of activism. She is the granddaughter of Noah E. Clarke, who was a teacher and the son of a freed slave. In the early 1900s, Mr. Clarke successfully argued for the formal education of African American children. To learn more of Tina Clarke’s story in her own words, Watch Video

Warren Crutchfield

Mr. Crutchfield grew up on property that was bought by his great-great grandmother, who was a slave to the Beall family in Rockville. He attended Carver High School in Rockville during segregation and made it to the Olympic trials in track and field. In 1960, he was drafted by the U.S. Army, which was in the process of integrating service members.

Known as a “philosopher of the game,” Mr. Crutchfield coached basketball and track at Sherwood High School in Sandy

Spring for 32 years. Under his coaching, the Sherwood High School girl’s basketball team won state titles in 1974 and 1976. As a varsity coach, he had more than 400 wins. He is also a member of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Hall of Fame.To learn more of Warren Crutchfield's story in his own words, Watch Video

Ruby Reese Moone

The Rev. Dr. Moone is known for her civil rights activism. She frequently speaks on civil and human rights issues throughout our community and on the national stage.

Reverend Moone was the first female chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Commemorative Committee in Montgomery County. She was also Maryland State President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and is a member of the Montgomery County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Reverend Moon is a member of Montgomery County’s Human Rights Hall of Fame.

Reverend Moone worked for Montgomery County Public Schools for 40 years. In 1966, she was hired as a guidance counselor at Poolesville High School where she developed the first career center in MCPS. She also developed the Brotherhood of Super Stars program. Upon her retirement, the Ruby Reese Moone Foundation was established to help underprivileged college students.To learn more of Ruby Reese Moone's story in her own words, Watch Video

James C. Offord

Mr. Offord is an advocate for fair and affordable housing, a fighter for civil rights and active in political and civic organizations. His activism on social and economic issues has positively impacted diverse groups of Montgomery County residents.

Mr. Offord had a distinguished career working in the federal government’s Small Business Administration (SBA) where he focused on minority contracting programs. He also spent many years volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. In his retirement, Mr. Offord continues to be a major force in all sectors of his community. He is a member of Montgomery County’s Human Rights Hall of Fame.To learn more of James C. Offord's story in his own words, Watch Video

Odessa Shannon

Ms. Shannon became Montgomery County’s first African American woman elected official, when she was elected to the Board of Education in 1982. She has been a tireless fighter for human rights throughout her life. As a federal executive, a local elected official, a county administrator and a community activist, Ms. Shannon has worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone is treated with respect and dignity.

Born in Washington, D.C., Ms. Shannon graduated from Smith College and began her life of public service as a teacher in Baltimore. As national program director at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, she worked with state and local human rights agencies across the nation. After retiring from federal service, Ms. Shannon served as special assistant to Montgomery County Executive Charles Gilchrist, deputy director of Family Resources and director of the Office of Human Rights. She founded Montgomery County’s Human Rights Hall of Fame and is a member.

Ms. Shannon was one of the original directors of the National Political Congress of Black Women. She has served on many community boards, including the NAACP and Montgomery Housing Partnership.To learn more of Odessa Shannon's story in her own words, Watch Video

Harvey Zeigler

Harvey Zeigler was a major contributor to the cultural progress of the northern part of Montgomery County. As a resident of Damascus, he has worked actively to integrate clubs, churches and businesses.

Mr. Zeigler served in World War II in the 329th segregated unit of the U.S. Army from 1941 to 1945. Upon returning home, he challenged the discriminatory practices of local banks after being denied a loan.

In 1959, Mr. Zeigler was hired as a custodian at the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in Germantown. After he and numerous other employees were passed over for promotions, Mr. Zeigler sued the AEC with the help of the NAACP. They won the case, improving employment options for African American employees.

After retiring from the federal government in 1977, Mr. Zeigler continued his work as a civil rights advocate. His work and dedication have been recognized by many, resulting in numerous accolades. He is a member of Montgomery County’s Human Rights Hall of Fame.To learn more of Harvey Zeigler's story in his own words, Watch Video