At Tuesday’s packed town council meeting, Bayside HOYA President John Queen, musical artist Karen Somerville, resident Monica Graves and others addressed the Council over the delay in placing the Charlie Graves-Uptown Club historical plaque planned for Calvert Street.Tuesday, September 6, the plaque was erected on College Ave. Monica Graves is the daughter of Charlie Graves.
John Queen is co-author of Chestertown Unites Against Racism and Chairman of Equity Advisory Committee. The plaque project was led by Karen Somerville, John Queen, and Cindy Fulton.
The more than three-hour topic quickly elevated into a challenge that the council had not been adhering to the principles and mandates described and adopted in the Chestertown Unites Against Racism 16- month plan to “educate the community about its history pertaining to race relations”.
The memorial plaque’s placement, originally planned for part of the Juneteenth celebration was denounced by the current renter of the house on the site of the old Uptown Club. Further discussion with the tenant failed. Additionally, it was acknowledged that the Town boundary extended into the proposed location for the sign and the town could have mandated the placement of the sign in the original spot.
Mayor Foster apologized to the community for the time it took to try find a solution to the issue citing a need to address the renter’s grievance and council meetings being two weeks apart hindered the process. The aforementioned speakers described the lapse in a timely solution an affront to the Black community’s mission to preserve their heritage and urged the Council to re-embrace the articles of the Chestertown Unites Against Racism program.
The Spy will follow up with comprehensive coverage of this meeting in the days ahead.