Turner Station to celebrate heritage and history at annual event
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 12:29

17th annual Heritage and Praise Day set for Aug. 2

 by Nicole Rodman

    For residents of Turner Station, the past year has been marked by change.
    With the demolition of the former Sollers Point Technical High School last December, community members have grappled with the balance between the benefits of progress and the desire to preserve history.
    One way community members work to preserve this history is through the annual Turner Station Heritage and Praise Day celebration.
    This year, the 17th annual Heritage and Praise Day will be held at Union Baptist Church, 105 Main Street, on Saturday, Aug. 2, beginning at noon.
    The event is sponsored by Kingdom Economic System, the Turner Station Heritage Foundation Committee and the Henrietta Lacks Legacy Group.
    The hour-long program will include readings, songs and reflections on Turner Station history.
    The program’s keynote address will be given by David Lacks, grandson of Henrietta Lacks.
    A Turner Station resident until her death from cancer in 1951, Lacks became a part of medical history after her unusually prolific cells were harvested without her knowledge during treatments at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Since 1951, Lacks’ cells have been used to develop treatments for numerous diseases, including polio, cancer and AIDS.
    It was not until decades after Lacks’ death that her family learned about her contributions to medical science.
    Today, the community recognizes Lacks’ legacy during the annual Heritage and Praise Day celebration.
    The event also serves as a reminder of the history of Turner Station — a history that is inextricably tied to segregation.
    “The importance of Turner Station can never be understated.  It is a symbol of the spirit of black innovation and the promise of prosperity that was realized during the segregation era,” Dr. Adele Newson-Horst, vice-president of the Henrietta Lacks Legacy Group, explained.
    “Although Jim Crow was a definite blight on our nation’s history, it afforded blacks the opportunity to, in many cases, take pride in their communities and to contribute substantially to its economic well-being,” Newson-Horst added, noting, “We’ve lost this spirit.”
    The day will also include the unveiling of an honorary street sign dedicated to Turner Station pioneer Anthony Thomas and his son, local businessman and physician Dr. Joseph Thomas.
    Following the program at Union Baptist Church, a gathering will be held at the Community Post (formerly the Turner Station VFW), 411-A New Pittsburg Ave., from 1:30 to 5 p.m.
    The gathering will include vendors, a flea market and blood pressure screenings by Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center staff.
    For more information, contact Courtney Speed at 410-340-4888.