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COMMISSIONERS


Edwin T. Johnson, PhD, CHAIR
Commission term: 2016-2020; 2020-2024
Chair Dr. Edwin T. Johnson, representing Baltimore City, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2016 by Governor Lawrence J. Hogan. Commissioner Johnson is the Special Assistant to the Provost and University Historian at Morgan State University. For more than 20 years, his work has primarily served non-traditional students to include: at-risk males, minorities, first-generation college attendees, adult learners, veterans and disabled students.


Maya Davis, VICE CHAIR
Commission term: 2017-2021; 2021-2025
Vice Chair Maya Davis, representing Prince George’s County, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2017 by Governor Lawrence J. Hogan. Commissioner Davis is the Director of the Riversdale House Museum in Riverdale Park, MD and brings 20 years of public history experience to the Commission.


Kali-Ahset Amen, PhD
Commission term: 2023-2027
Commissioner Dr. Kali-Ahset Amen, representing Baltimore City, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2023 by Governor Wes Moore. Commissioner Amen is an interdisciplinary scholar, curator, and social justice educator. She is currently the Executive Director of the Center for Journalism & Democracy in Washington, D.C. Amen is also a board member of the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center. Since 2019, Amen has helped to mobilize more than $6 million to preserve Black history, culture, and arts in the city as a senior advisor and principal investigator. 


Dion Banks
Commission term: 2022-2026
Commissioner Dion Banks, representing Dorchester County, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2022 by Governor Lawrence J. Hogan. Commissioner Banks has played an active role in community engagement and leadership, from housing and educational initiatives to matters regarding social issues and sustainability. Dion is a lifetime member of the Dorchester County NAACP, 2012 graduate of Leadership Maryland, member of the Cambridge Economic Steering Committee, board member of the Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board, and co-founder of Eastern Shore Network for Change (ESNC).


Lori Bradford
Commission term: 2023-2027
Commissioner Lori Bradford, representing Anne Arundel County, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2023 by Governor Wes Moore. Commissioner Bradford is a Registered Nurse, with over twenty years experience in mental health and public health. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Chi Eta Phi Nursing Sorority. She is active with the Caucus of African American Leaders, Connecting the Dots, and Women Indivisible community activist collectives within Anne Arundel County.


Janice Curtis Greene 
Commission term: 2017-2021; 2021-2025
Commissioner Janice Curtis Greene, representing Baltimore County, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2017 by Governor Lawrence J. Hogan. Commissioner Green is a multi-award-winning Author, Teaching Artist and Master storyteller, an American Griot, keeping the history and culture of the African Diaspora alive. She is a past President and Life Member of both the Griots’ Circle of Maryland, Inc. and the National Association of Black Storytellers. In 2022, an official Governor’s Citation recognized Commissioner Greene as the Official Griot for the State of Maryland.


Dr. Walter “Wali” Gill
Commission term: 2022-2026
Commissioner Dr. Walter “Wali” Gill, representing Baltimore City, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2022 by Governor Lawrence J. Hogan. Commissioner Gill is a military veteran, an art and social studies teacher, a professor, an artist, an actor and an author. He brings over twenty years of teaching experiences, particularly as an urban educator,  working as an advocate for children in foster care, and participating in the arts of literature, painting, collages, crafts, ceramics, photography, films, and clothing design.


Russell Frisby, Jr., Esq.,
Commission term: 2015-2019; 2021-2025
MCAAHC Vice Chair, Russell Frisby, Jr., Esq., representing Howard County, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2021 by Governor Lawrence J. Hogan. Vice Chair Frisby is an attorney and partner in the Stinson Leonard Street firm in its Washington, DC location. Long involved in civic affairs in Maryland, Commissioner Frisby has a familial connection to the Banneker-Douglass Museum through his grandfather, Dr. Herbert M. Frisby, who donated his historic collection of Arctic artifacts to the Banneker-Douglass Museum.


Kara Hunt, PhD
Commission term: 2023-2027
Commissioner Dr. Kara Hunt, representing Prince George’s County, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2023 by Governor Wes Moore. Commissioner Hunt currently serves as the Maryland Cannabis Administration’s Chief Diversity Officer.  Hunt has held the role of Director of Education & Outreach with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, where she provided statewide training on civil rights, systemic and structural discrimination, inequality, best practices for effective diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, as well as discrimination in the areas of housing and public accommodations.  Hunt has more than 14 years of work experience in the areas of equity, civil rights and diversity research, teaching, advocacy, and management.


Philip J. Merrill
Commission term: 2023-2027
Commissioner Philip J. Merrill, representing Baltimore City, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2023 by Governor Wes Moore. Merrill is the CEO and Founder of Nanny Jack & Company LLC, an African American heritage consulting business. Voted City Paper’s Baltimore’s Best Historian in 2001, Merrill has served as an expert contributor for television series, including Mysteries of the Abandoned: Hidden America on Discovery Channel, Chesapeake Collectibles on Maryland Public Television (MPT), and Antiques Roadshow, as well as served on numerous heritage, preservation, and historical boards, including the Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation. Merrill has published several books, the latest of which is Images of America: Baltimore and the Civil Rights Movement (2023). 


Jaelon T. Moaney
Commission term: 2023-2027
Commissioner Jaelon T. Moaney, representing Talbot County, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2023 by Governor Wes Moore. Moaney is a descendant of two founding Black families from Talbot and Kent Counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He currently leads national historic resources advocacy for the American Institute of Architects. He has extensive experience in public policy, serving Marylanders at every level of government. He is also the founder of The Needle’s Eye Academy, an organization focused on the literary future of the Delmarva Peninsula. Moaney has served on the Water’s Edge Museum Advisory Board Committee, MD Sea Grant’s External Advisory Board, TCPS Education Foundation Board of Directors, Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice Just Futures Advisory Council, and the Williams-Mystic Alumni Council.


Brian C. Morrison, PhD
Commission term: 2023-2027
Commissioner Dr. Brian C. Morrison, representing Baltimore City, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2023 by Governor Wes Moore. Morrison has been a public school educator in secondary and higher learning institutions for 39 years working in under-served and under-resourced communities primarily in the Baltimore metropolitan area. He is currently the Social Studies Teacher Leader of Innovation at Ballou Senior High School in the District of Columbia Public School System and he founded the William J. Watkins, Sr. Educational Institute, which trains teachers in culturally responsive pedagogy. He has expertise in teaching Social Studies and African American History, and works closely with the Maryland State Department of Education and the Reginald F. Lewis Maryland Museum of African American History and Culture developing the state’s African American History curriculum. 


Barbara Paca, PhD, O.B.E.
Commission term: 2018-2021; 2021-2025
Commissioner Barbara Paca, Ph.D., O.B.E., representing Talbot County, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2018 by Governor Lawrence J. Hogan. Commissioner Paca is a full research professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland (College Park) MD, an art historian, founder of the Water’s Edge Museum, and the Cultural Envoy to the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, and brings forty years of experience to the Commission.


Robert J. Patterson, PhD
Commission term: 2023-2027
Commissioner Dr. Robert J. Patterson, representing Harford County, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2023 by Governor Wes Moore. Patterson is a distinguished professor of African American Studies at Georgetown University, where he previously served as the inaugural chair (2016-2019). He is a renowned author, editor, and television commentator (MSNBC, Fox Soul, CNN, and the BBC) focusing on rhythm and blues culture, civil rights literature, racial equity, reparations, slavery’s legacies, and black cultural production. Dr. Patterson has worked with governmental agencies, school systems, and other organizations to develop solutions that increase diversity, cultivate inclusion, and provide equity of access and outcomes.


Ada Pinkston
Commission term: 2023-2027
Commissioner Ada Pinkston, representing Baltimore City, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2023 by Governor Wes Moore. Ada Pinkston is a multimedia artist, educator, and cultural organizer whose work has been showcased at prestigious venues like The Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building, The Baltimore Museum of Art, and The Walters Art Museum. She co-directs the “Invisible Architectures” project at Towson University, where she is a lecturer. Ada has presented lectures on memory and public space at esteemed institutions like The French Embassy, NYU, UCLA, USC, Columbia University, and The National Gallery of Art.


Elinor L. Thompson 
Commission term: 2017-2021; 2021-2025
Commissioner Elinor L. Thompson, representing Anne Arundel County, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2017 by Governor Lawrence J. Hogan. Commissioner Thompson is the Founding member and president of Broadneck African-American Heritage Project, Inc. Thompson is an independent genealogist, historian and author and has contributed more than thirty five years of experience in preserving, archiving African American Church records and documenting African American cemeteries through genealogy and research.


Hakeem I. Tijani, PhD
Commission term: 2023-2027
Commissioner Dr. Hakeem I. Tijani, representing Baltimore County, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2023 by Governor Wes Moore. Commissioner Tijani is currently an associate professor of African history & the African Diaspora, and serves as the Executive Director of Global Partnership at Morgan State University. A scholar, administrator, and educationist with over three decades of global experience in and outside the classroom, Dr. Tijani has extensive knowledge of global education, experiential learning, study abroad, managing partnerships, and sister-sister linkages across the Atlantic.


Reggie Turner 
Commission term: 2017-2021; 2021-2025
Commissioner Reggie Turner, representing Washington County, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2017 by Governor Lawrence J. Hogan. Commissioner Turner is the founder and president of Turner Wealth Management located in Hagerstown, Maryland and brings 18 years of experience as a financial advisor to the Commission.


Kennedi Wilson
Commission term: 2023-2027
Commissioner Kennedi Wilson, representing Frederick County, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2023 by Governor Wes Moore. Commissioner Wilson is a writer and business owner of OUT40, which has been a voice for minority communities of Frederick for 10 years. She is a member of the International Association of Professional Writers & Editors, Maryland Ensemble Theatre Board, Frederick Public Art Commission, and Frederick Community Foundation Grants Committee. She serves on the advisory board of the RISE Coalition of Western Maryland and also volunteers for the Communications department at the City Hall of Frederick.


Wesley C. Wood
Commission term: 2023-2027
Commissioner Wesley C. Wood, representing Baltimore City, was appointed to the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture in 2023 by Governor Wes Moore. Wood is a communications professional, and veteran of state and local government and politics. Mr. Wood served one term to the Maryland Democratic State Central Committee (2010-2014), representing the 44th District. Prior to that, he had been a House of Delegates candidate and was a board member of the Baltimore City Branch of the NAACP. Wood currently holds the position as the President of the Society of Black Alumni for John Hopkins University, is chair of the Political and Social Action Committee of Baltimore Alumni Chapter, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and serves on the Eastern Province Political Action Committee.


Updated: July 28, 2023