September 17, 2020
Union Bethel AME Church – 161 Church Street, Cecilton , MD
Meeting concerning Levi Coppin Memorial in the new Levi Coppin School (Early Childhood Learning Center).
Purpose: To discuss mitigation measures or options that we could agree upon and then come up with a list of recommendations.
In attendance: Reverend and Mrs. Gray, Charman Bell, Bonita Bell, Hester Wise, Ranae Henry, Rockie Benson, Maxine Ash, Jason Ash, Mary Cooper, Frank Hodgetts, and Teresa Quinn
Frank Hodgetts asked Ranae Henry to read her proposal concerning the school. She read her proposal c about a plaque on the existing building if the building stays erected. The possibilities of paying for the plaque could be the community, the owner, or the historical society. If the existing building is torn down, then some of the bricks from the building and a plaque erected within the new school.
Henry asked if the existing building going to be torn down. Hodgetts replied that was not decided yet. That would not be decided by the group here tonight. Hodgetts indicated that it is a large expense to renovate the building and the property is valuable for future projects.
Cooper informed the group that the sign on the new school would say Levi J Coppin School. Currently the street signs are temporarily. The school would be on Levi Coppin Street.
Cooper continued to say that the thought was to have the front inside wall of the new Levi J. Coppin School contain/built of exterior bricks from the old school. At this meeting Cooper and Hodgetts are looking for suggestions of what would be on the wall and how it should look. She proposed the idea of images of Coppin, pictures of students in the school, the history of the school and Coppin.
Henry read an email from Mike Dixon.
Wise asked why one of the streets at the site was called Rebecca Smith Way. Cooper replied that there were two streets. The school road is Levi Coppin Street and that will lead to the new school and the 600 and 700 numbered units of the senior housing. Rebecca Smith Way will lead to the senior housing. It was named after Miss Becky since she is the oldest living resident in Cecilton.
Discussion continued on ideas for the wall. Suggestions included pictures of residents at/attending the school. Henry felt that having some say in preserving the history makes her feel better. Reverend Gray would like to see some history in the school. Cooper said it is an opportunity to educate people on who Levi Coppin was. Cooper also brought up the idea of having a history night once a month. People could share the history of the school and community. It could be a sharing/learning experience.
There was a comment about there being a restaurant near the senior housing. There was clarification about the position of the building. The new school will be behind the Dollar General. The old school area is zoned commercial property that is where a restaurant and 2 other business would reside.
Discussion continued about the use of bricks from the old school. Suggestions were that the bricks could be put in the new school and the rest would be up to the group and the church. Henry would like to use the bricks for a church fundraiser. Hodgetts suggested the old bricks could be sold to create a monument/statue. Possibility of a road marker (maybe through the historical society) was briefly discussed. Rev. Gray also suggested that maybe the bricks could be used for a walkway around the church. People could buy a brick. Cooper also gave the idea of maybe the bricks for the walkway from the school or senior housing to the pocket park. Sarah Ash suggested a room dedicated to Bishop Coppin instead of the wall in the entry way. The majority of the group like the idea of a wall in the entry.
Hodgetts recapped the discussion of the evening: having a wall in the new school would save history, could also include the history before the school was built, the wall would include bricks from the school, pictures, plaque, etc. and possible walkway(s).
Hodgetts would like to see someone in the area to sketch up what the wall could look like.
There was also discussion about a time capsule. It could include letters of what life was like going to school there.
Next Meeting is scheduled for October 22nd at 5:30pm in Cecilton Community Center
If you have any suggestions on how to memorialize Levi Coppin and/or the school please submit your comments to: