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African Americans in Baltimore

Freedom Records (also called Manumissions) for Baltimore City are available in electronic form online at Baltimore City Freedom Records.

The Maryland State Archives has put together an excellent overview of African Americans in Baltimore at From Frederick Douglass to Thurgood Marshall: Black Baltimore in Transition.  Also helpful is their more overarching page on The Study of the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland, which has many useful links.

Also take a look at the section of the bibliography based on the work of Dean Krimmel, Anita Kassof, and Richard Longstreth entitled The African-American Experience in Baltimore and Maryland.

  1. March 21, 2012 7:44 pm

    I am trying to find the birth record for my father,Edgar Jones Powell, born in Baltimore City on MAY 26, 1910. Can you help, his mothers name was Marietta Jones Powell.

  2. May 3, 2013 9:54 pm

    For me this site is not user friendly. I just spent 5 hours today at a workshop on the Baltimore City Archives expecting to get pointers on using this site. Instead the time was devoted listening to learned historians read their papers that they completed by using records found at the Baltimore City Archives. That was not helpful to me. Now I am trying to maneuver through this site, and I am not being successful.

    • Amy James permalink
      May 6, 2013 5:00 pm

      I’m sorry you’re having trouble. You are more than welcome to e-mail us directly concerning specific research goals- we’ll be happy to help you sort it out. Our e-mail is listed on our homepage.

      • permalink
        May 6, 2013 11:25 pm

        Hello Amy, I was hoping to be able to “fish” for mention of any of my ancestors on the Baltimore City Archives website, but I don’t think that this will be possible. My ancestors migrated to Baltimore between 1900 and 1915, and the one Record Group (RG4) where they may appear in the records, is not yet available online for that time period. I also assume that they may be a part of RG23, but I do not know how to access any information from it. Thank you for responding to the comment that submitted. Lillian L Alston

  3. kwanisha shorter permalink
    March 25, 2014 8:36 pm

    Hi I am looking for a birth certificate for my great grandfather he was born in 1916. Im not sure if he was brought to Baltimore md or he was actually born here. But I do know he was adopted from a place in Baltimore Md. Around 1927 but he never mentioned the names of either of his parents where can I look

    • Amy James permalink
      March 26, 2014 10:40 am

      Birth Certificates are located at the Maryland State Archives. You can contact them at 410-260-6400 or via e-mail at msa.helpdesk[at]maryland[dot]gov

  4. John Rudasill permalink
    September 2, 2014 6:34 pm

    I am doing some historical research on Rev. John Alexander Holmes. I have some info but I still could use some more.

    • Amy James permalink
      September 3, 2014 1:48 pm

      John, we primarily hold city government records, not cultural records, so I’m not sure we’ll be much help to you. I would suggest checking with the Maryland Historical Society and the Maryland Department of the Enoch Pratt. Have you checked with the Reginald F. Lewis Museum? I would also suggest checking to see if the churches he preached have records from when he was there- check out our churches topics page for more info on church records (many are at the State Archives).

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