Marjorie Hawkins

This Week’s Kent County History Quiz Question: She was a pioneer of interracial public health services in Jim Crow Kent County.

A. Loretta Freeman?

B. Marjorie Hawkins?

C. Esther McCready?

D. None of the Above?

This Week’s Answer: B. Marjorie Hawkins.

For the 38 years following her arrival in Chestertown in 1927, Marjorie Hawkins devoted her excellent nursing education to the health and quality of life of the Kent County community.

Through the desperate struggles brought about from the  Depression, second world war, desegregation and the civil rights movement, this African-American humanitarian saw that all her patients received their rightfully deserved care.  She bore no children, but with her RN certification from the venerable Freeman’s Hospital in the District of Columbia, she worked tirelessly to ensure that the latest protection from virulent diseases was available to young Kent Countians.

In addition to her medical career, Marjorie Hawkins also participated in many of the local charitable and socially proactive organizations, such as the NAACP, the Urban League, the Boy Scouts, the Cancer Society, Frontiers of America, the Chestertown Bi-racial Committee and the Mayor’s Committee.

Hurtt Deringer, well-remembered Kent County News editor, sensitively summed up Marjorie Hawkins’ valiant approach to healing her patients–she “almost always converted fear and unhappiness into courage and love.”

A quote from the inspiring current Jason Patterson exhibition in the Kohl Gallery at Washington College states that “Hawkins was a tireless champion for youth well-being and the advancement of both scientific nursing and sanitary practices.”

For an “in-gallery” view of “Black History of Kent County and Washington College” by Jason Patterson from February 15-March 12, 2021, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00-4:00, please contact Tara Gladden, Gallery Director, for an appointment —

The past continues to nourish the present.

The Kent County History Quiz is a weekly local brainteaser sponsored by The Peoples Bank. Kent County historian and author Joan Horsey, Kent County newsman and writer Kevin Hemstock, and columnist Kate Meehan contribute to the quiz’s development. Our goal is to create an opportunity for local learning and discussion.

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