Get Inspired by Local Changemakers at the Columbia MD Archives
Guest Post by Erin Berry, Archivist & Manager at Columbia MD Archives
Since the very beginning, community engagement has been a core tenet in Columbia.
Here at the Columbia MD Archives (CMA), we are proud to be a community archive where anyone is welcome to learn about Columbia’s past and present. We believe this is one powerful way to be engaged — an informed citizen is someone who can be a changemaker. 🤓🧠📚📖
Why? Learning more about the ideals Columbia is rooted in, and the leaders who paved the way, provides valuable guidance and context as we work together toward a better, more equitable future. After all, we are building upon the steps made by those who came before us. We invite you to visit the CMA and dig deeper into the issues you are interested in!
The CMA team is here to help
While there are standards across the field, there is no “universal” system for organizing archives (such as the Dewey Decimal system for library books). This is because different facilities and their collections encompass such a variety of subjects and types of material.
Finding information in our collections is like a treasure hunt. You can explore SO many topics and areas of Columbia’s history at CMA. You need a map to locate the material that best fits your questions, and the Archives team is here to read that map.
Whether you have a specific question in mind, need help finding an image for a presentation or want to learn more about a general topic (like religious institutions, race relations or villages), we are here to provide support for all your research needs! To learn more about our services, check out our digitization fees and Researcher Resources webpage.
Changemakers in Columbia
The CMA contains plenty of material on the life and career of Columbia’s founder, James Rouse. However, we are also a rich resource on all the inspiring organizations and individuals who have made their mark on Columbia (and continue to do so).
Since the CMA is a community archive, we have a collection, or record group as we call them, titled RGV Miscellaneous Organizations. This represents 431 Columbia and Howard County organizations that have lived and grown in this community. To inspire your own research and efforts, check out five organizations found in this record group who are fostering community engagement!
Howard County Center of African American Culture
Did you know that when the HCCAC was established, it provided the richest resource on local and national Black history in all of Howard County? It’s all thanks to Wylene Burch, who founded the center in 1987 to honor the contributions that African Americans have made to our region in the past 150 years. Wylene personally donated thousands of books, historical artifacts and memorabilia that she had collected over the years to promote awareness of African American culture, genealogy and local history.
Community Action Council of Howard County, MD
The CAC-HC was established in 1965 to diminish poverty and enable self-sufficiency for all Howard County individuals, families and children in need. They offer four critical services to guide families from crisis to stability: housing assistance, food assistance, energy and weatherization assistance and early childhood education.
Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center
Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center was founded in 1969 by a group of community residents, professionals, and students who joined together to address the growing problem of drug abuse among young people in the community. In 1970, Grassroots received a grant from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Since then, Grassroots has expanded tremendously and their mission is to serve as “the 24/7 single point access for behavioral health, crisis and homeless services for individuals and families.” They offer workshops, educational classes, a homeless shelter, counseling, a Mobile Crisis team, walk-in crisis assistance and more.
Jewish Federation of Howard County
The Jewish Federation of Howard County (formerly known as Jewish Council of Howard County, MD) was founded to provide a basis for the Jewish community in Columbia. They’re a representative body to the Religious Facilities Corporation and the Interfaith Religious Planning Council.
Recently, they launched an online form to enable Jewish residents to report incidents of antisemitism they have personally experienced or witnessed.
Business Women’s Network (Howard County, MD)
In 1979, the Women’s Network was founded by Liz Bobo and Ruth Keeton as an informal opportunity for women in Howard County to network. In 1993, the group became more formalized and changed their name to the Business Women’s Network of Howard County.
Come visit the CMA
These five organizations are just a small representative of the incredible community engagement happening in Columbia. Learning more about the issues you’re passionate about is so important for continuing to progress and drive change. We’d love to have you visit the CMA to explore the causes most important to you.
Got a question about the Columbia MD Archives? Reach out anytime through email (columbia.archives@