Jay Meredith speaks to visitors at the Bucktown Village store.
BUCKTOWN – The monthly Heritage Partner Spotlight focuses on our partners in the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area (HCCHA) and how they have supported cultural tourism in Dorchester County with a project funded either through a grant from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA ) or is financed by an HCCHA mini. grant.
This month’s focus is the Bucktown Village Foundation, a dedicated and respected leader who is committed to preserving and promoting the heritage of Bucktown, the birthplace of Harriet Tubman, and developing partnerships with other organizations with a similar interest in The Bucktown Village Foundation’s preservation legacies have inherited from Dorchester County and the East Coast.
The Bucktown Village Foundation was established in recognition of the need to preserve and promote the legacy of Harriet Tubman’s childhood home. She has grown into a leader in enlivening the wider history of the underground in Dorchester County and across the east coast. The foundation has embraced and expanded its mission to reach and promote the rich history of all of Dorchester County and the east coast.
The Bucktown Village Foundation was founded in 2002 by Jay and Susan Meredith. They bought the Bucktown Village Store in 1999 and quickly realized the potential scope of their business.
Jay Meredith explains the job they’ve done to keep the store running.
“We bought the Bucktown Village Store to make sure it would last,” said Jay Meredith. “We saw the need to preserve the important history of the business. We didn’t know how to keep it, but we knew it had to be saved. “
Their project quickly attracted the interest and support of historians and conservation experts, who recommended that the Merediths apply for grants to fund their project needs. To be eligible for many of the maintenance grants, they had to be of charitable status. Hence, they formed and established the Bucktown Village Foundation as 501c3.
“The focus of the nonprofit was broader than just maintaining the business,” said Jay Meredith. “We are committed to Harriet Tubman’s legacy and we preserve other buildings in Bucktown and Dorchester. One way to expand the foundation is by receiving additional property with constant relief through the Maryland Heritage Trust. We want to preserve the landscape and protect the land adjacent to the property with the store. “
The property that started all of this in motion is the Bucktown Village Store, an authentic 19th century country store. It was here that Harriet Tubman received a blow on the head that fractured her skull while she was trying to help an enslaved human being.
This has been called Tubman’s first public act of defiance. As a result of the injury, she experienced lifelong health problems and spiritual visions that changed her views and guided the rest of her life.
“The store is a unique building,” said Jay Meredith.
“Even if it has not been associated with Harriet Tubman, the store is such a unique building in the landscape.”
The preservation of this building was listed as a priority project in the Strategic Plan for the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area 2013-18, and the Heritage Area worked with the Bucktown Village Foundation to apply for grants and network for the designation of freedom for their guided tours receive.
In collaboration with the Merediths, the Heritage Area is currently upgrading the Bucktown Store stop on its Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway mobile app. The new content will take viewers back in time so they can see Bucktown’s intersection just like they did in the mid-19th century. The Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality segment will also feature the stories of Bucktown residents who share their connections to the intersection.
The Merediths and Bucktown Village Foundation also have deep roots in the community. They have taken in groups of downtown children who camped on the storefront and participated in programs with reenactors playing Harriet Tubman and historians giving presentations to help them understand the importance of the subway.
Jay Meredith also serves on the Board of Directors of the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area.
“My job is to support the cultural heritage, the funding programs and the people with important cultural heritage projects,” he said. “It’s important to represent these people and programs. If you look back over the years, if you didn’t have the heritage, a lot of it would be lost and it wouldn’t be just buildings. “