Author Profiles

Kimberly A. Chase 

Kimberly A. Chase is a lifelong resident of Maryland and a Phi Theta Kappa Scholar. She attended the School of Architecture and Design at Howard University before discovering her true passion for genealogy and local history research. She holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies from the University of Strathclyde Glasgow. 


What led you to write?

I felt compelled to write because I found very little in the way of personal details for the average 19th century African American.  While what is found is not always enough to fill a biography, it deserves to be brought to light.  I found African Americans who each tell a bit of the same story.


What do you love about genealogy and history?

For some people, history is seen as boring because they don't feel a personal  .                                                                connection to its events.  Genealogy contributes to one's sense of identity and .                                                           makes one realize that she/he comes from something larger.  History comes .                                                                  alive with that knowledge of ancestry.

James Lee Purnell Jr.


The late James Lee Purnell Jr. was a lifelong resident and businessman of Berlin, Maryland. He was a member of the Prince Hall Masons and the Order of the Eastern Star. He was a member of the Worcester County Board of Health for 20 years. He served as the Worcester County NAACP’s Vice-President and President, as well as the Maryland NAACP’s Vice-President. As the first elected African-American to the Worcester County Board of Commissioners, he held that seat from 1995 to 2014, and served as its President and Vice-President for a majority of that time. The Tri-County Council of the Lower Eastern Shore awarded him with their Citizenship Award in 2015, after his 12-year membership and service on the executive board. In 2016, he was inducted into the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.  James died in December 2021.

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