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Frederick County Black Family History Uncovered

A McDaniel College genealogist uncovers the history of black communities in Frederick County.
OLDFIELD, Md.-- In the small town of Oldfield, Md., there are centuries of history.

Genealogist and McDaniel College chemistry professor, Rick Smith, uncovered the stories of six black communities through out Frederick County.

"This is a key piece of the history of African Americans in the United States," said Smith.

Because slaves weren't given last names, it's more challenging to document black family lines, but Smith says the information learned is what makes it worth it.

"Its a testament to the spirit of African Americans to endure slavery and still remember what its like to be a family and a community," said Smith.

Barbara Thompson, a descendant of the Key family, says watching Smith call attention to her ancestors and the first black settlers in Frederick County is important.

"Black history is American history and is an integral part of this country's history...I think its up to every African American parent to pass it on to their children so they can pass it on to their children the importance of telling our stories," said Thompson.
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