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Voices and Votes: Democracy on Delmarva: Civil Rights on Delmarva

Civil Rights on Delmarva: A Timeline of Events

Throughout the 1960s, sit-ins, marches, and other forms of demonstration took place across the country to protest longstanding racial inequality. While the civil rights movement gained much attention in heavily segregated southern states, it also had an impact on towns on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Included here is a brief timeline of the movement as it occurred in three towns on Delmarva. On this page, you can find newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, political addresses, and collections related to civil rights in the area.

Newspaper Clippings

2013.060 Dorchester County Civil Rights Collection

The Dorchester County Civil Rights collection documents the Civil Rights movement occurring in Cambridge, Maryland from 1958 -1990 with the bulk of the materials dating from 1961 – 1970. Materials include newspaper clippings, political literature, and campaign materials relating to the Civil Rights movement in Cambridge, including three scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings and ephemera related to unrest in Cambridge. The scrapbooks were maintained by Thomas Applegarth, Jr., a member of the anti-protest Dorchester Business and Citizens Association. Within the loose documents is segregationist literature from the George Wallace campaign, National States Rights Party, and more, which is contrasted with material collected from the NAACP and handwritten documents from Cambridge residents. For more information, visit the Finding Aid.

Dean Kotlowski Civil Rights Collection

This collection contains newspaper clippings, transcripts, correspondence and audio tape cassettes. The material in the collection tells the story of Aloysius Sheppard an 18 year Black American accused and convicted of rape who was subsequently lynched in 1915 in Caroline County, Maryland. The collection also covers the political climate regarding the subject of Civil Rights in 1963 through presidential recordings and partial transcripts obtained from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. Additional materials include documents on the Nanticoke Native Americans and Assateague Island National Seashore.


Finding Aid


Washington Spark photos

Cambridge MD Rights: 1963-67

"In the midst of ongoing fist fights, rock throwing and gun battles between white segregationists and African American seeking civil rights in 1963 Cambridge, Maryland, there was an astonishing phenomenon.
White workers sought black leadership to aid the struggle to organize and strengthen interracial unions in the town.
The Cambridge, Maryland. civil rights struggle from 1963-67 involved the longest occupation by armed forces of a U.S. town since Reconstruction and presents a far different narrative than that of the Civil Rights movement taught in schoolbooks today.
Early on, the leadership deviated from other concurrent civil rights struggles for legal equality by taking up social justice demands such as good jobs, housing, schools and health care. It was also different because it was an indigenous struggle to the town as opposed to one orchestrated by national rights leaders.
The leadership of the Cambridge Non-Violent Action Committee (CNAC) also did not reject armed self-defense. CNAC, which affiliated with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), was the only chapter led by adults and probably the only one whose principal strategist was a woman.
Much has been written about Cambridge elsewhere and a good blow-by-blow account can be found in Civil War on Race Street by Peter B. Levy.
However, less well-known is how in the midst of violent racial clashes between African Americans and whites in the town, white and black workers united behind the local civil rights leaders in their long quest to form labor unions there.
To read an account, see "

Additional Resources

White, Devon. “Cambridge, Maryland Riot (1963).” Black Past, 4 January 2018,

Lyden, Jacki and Martha Wexler. “Flames of Cambridge Division.” NPR. National Public Radio, 29 July 2009,

Holland, Liz. “Salisbury Racial Divide Persists Long after 1968 Riots.” The Daily Times, The Daily Times, 10 May 2018,

“Home - Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” Maryland.Gov, Accessed 23 June 2021.

“Princess Anne Community to Come Together for Memorial, Discussion on the 78th Anniversary of George Armwood Lynching.” ACLU of Maryland, 22 Oct. 2011,

“Chesapeake Mural Trail.” Visit Dorchester, 14 Sept. 2020,

“Demonstrations on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.” SNCC Digital Gateway, 14 July 2020,

“Treaty of Cambridge.” SNCC Digital Gateway,

Dorchester County Office of Tourism. “Gloria Richardson Dandridge, Civil Rights Leader.” Visit Dorchester,

Burgess, DeJon. “Hogan Issues Posthumous Pardons for 34 Victims of Racial Lynching in Maryland.” 47abc, 9 May 2021, 

Gates, Deborah. “Salisbury Residents Recall Turbulent 60s, Reflect.” The Daily Times, 2 May 2015,  

“White Mob of 2000 People Lynch George Armwood in Maryland.” Equal Justice Initiative, Accessed 8 July 2021. 

Banks, Ashley. “CORE’s Route 40 Project: Maryland Campaign for Desegregation and U.S. Civil Rights, 1961.” Global Nonviolent Action Database, 31 Jan. 2011, 

Contreras, Rebecca. “Cambridge, Maryland, Activists Campaign for Desegregation, USA, 1962–1963.” Global Nonviolent Action Database, 30 Jan. 2011,