What better way to conclude Black History Month than highlighting one of the most prominent African American businessman and community leader in Annapolis: Wiley H. Bates.

Wiley H. Bates

Born into slavery in North Carolina, Wiley H. Bates achieved his freedom through education, hard work, and dedication. He made his way to Annapolis in 1872 where he found employment as a waterman, a grocer, and a politician. However, what he was most known for was his advocacy for African American children’s education.

Wiley H. Bates

Bates petitioned the city council requesting a school for African American children. From this petition came the Stanton Elementary School; the first public school in Anne Arundel County (prior to desegregation) where African American children could attend school. He served as trustee there for eight years.

Wiley H. Bates

As the need for more space at the school became apparent, Bates made a substantial financial donation to a piece of land that soon became the Wiley H. Bates High School. It opened its doors in 1933 and served students for over three decades. In 1935 Wiley H. Bates passed away, but his vision for equal education continued.

The original high school became the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center in 2006. Serving as a unique cultural arts heritage center, the center provides insight and perspective on the roles of education, economic opportunity, and service for African American citizens of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.


Videography and photos courtesy of Patrick McNamara of Drawn to the Image.

Jamie Foster

Jamie Foster is married with two young daughters and lives in Annapolis. You might see her walking the brick-paved streets of our colonial city as a tour guide, complete with 18th century clothing. Originally from Michigan, she moved to Long Island, NY for graduate school where she received her degree in Exercise Physiology. She worked for many years in Cardiac Rehabilitation before moving to Maryland in 2008. Since then, she has stayed home to be with her children. Now that they are in school, she enjoys volunteering and sharing her love of history as a tour guide. Jamie enjoys coffee, exploring historical sites, spending time with friends and being involved in her church.