In 1903, Lucretia Kennard moved from Philadelphia to the Eastern Shore to become a teacher. Schools were segregated, and many black students lacked access to quality education, mostly meeting in small one room schoolhouses dotted across the county. In 1919 Lucretia was appointed “Supervisor of Colored Schools” in Queen Anne’s County. Lucretia created curricula and set high standards for her students to achieve. She then set out to create a proper high school for black students living in our county.
Lucretia would pass away in 1933, three years before the school could be completed. It was named Kennard High School in her honor. With no bus services for black schools, some students stayed in a boarding house in Centreville in order to attend school. They also at first lacked a cafeteria like white students had in their schools. Between 1936 and 1966, over one thousand black students graduated from Kennard. It wouldn’t be for thirty years, until 1966, that QAC schools would be desegregated.
The school building was used for a variety of purposes over the years before being leased by the county to the Kennard Alumni Association. By this time the building had fallen into a poor state, and it eventually was renovated to become a museum. Using artifacts from the time such as occupational items, school supplies and military equipment, the museum shows what life was like for African Americans in Queen Anne’s County in the 30’s through the 60’s. The museum also has interactive exhibits and audio/video elements to keep locals of all ages engaged.
On November 11th Kennard African American Heritage Center is holding their annual Gala Luncheon and Raffle. Their raffle includes prizes like overnight stays and meals at local hotels and restaurants as well as gift cards. They also will be recognizing “Past and Present” board members who have made a difference.
At https://kennardheritage.com/ you can learn more about the history of the school, their museum and more. If you would like to support The Heritage Center their main source of operating funds comes from donations and grants. They are also looking for committee members and event volunteers. You can learn more about volunteering or directly donating to the Heritage Center here: https://kennardheritage.com/get-involved/.