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Historic Amusement Parks in Maryland: Separate But Not Equal

Historic Amusement Parks in Maryland: Separate But Not Equal

This is original content and programming provided by the Maryland Historical Society. The reproduction of content without permission is unlawful.

Registrants: our virtual public programming, like this one, is free and only requires a free Zoom app download if you currently do not have it on your device. Please make sure that you are using the official Maryland Historical Society social media event page and website.
For many people, theme parks reconnect us to childhood memories of thrilling rides, tasty food, and live entertainment. This shared nostalgia is easily attributed to the nearly three dozen amusement parks scattered across Maryland’s landscape over the past 144 years.

These sentimental recollections, however, aren’t held by all Marylanders. From their inception, amusement parks were racially segregated, with most operating under a whites-only admissions policy. Major civil rights campaigns targeted amusement park segregation and in the summer of 1963, after many demonstrations and public protests, Baltimore County’s Gwynn Oak Park became one of the first Maryland amusement park to desegregate, opening to all for the first time on August 28, 1963.

This virtual program, hosted by the Maryland Historical Society, will recall many of Maryland’s historic amusement parks, with special consideration to Gywnn Oak Park. Jason Rhodes, author of Images of America: Maryland’s Amusement Parks, joins Sharon Langley and Amy Nathan, co-authors of the recently published children’s book about Gwynn Oak, A Ride to Remember: A Civil Rights Story, whose story is told in more detail in Nathan's earlier book for teens and adults: Round and Round Together. These three authors will discuss amusement parks of a bygone era and how segregated recreation played an important role in the civil rights movement.

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This virtual program is free and open to all audiences. Registration is required. After registering for the program, attendees will receive an automated confirmation email with connection instructions. We will connect via Zoom which, is available for free download here:

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Event Details

Wednesday, August 12, 2020, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM


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