Richard Kline To Present Program On The Autobiography Of Reverend Thomas Henry

HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – Historian Richard Kline will present a program on The Autobiography of Reverend Thomas Henry on February 3 from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. at the Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church at 26 Bethel Street in Hagerstown. This special program is presented in celebration of African American History Month.

Thomas Henry came to Washington County and was apprenticed to a blacksmith in Hagerstown at about the age of 15. Raised Roman Catholic, Henry converted to Methodism while living with Abraham King, a white member of the Church of the Brethren whose children became Methodists. In 1821 Henry was freed from slavery. He became a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church but switched to the African Methodist Episcopal denomination in 1835. His first charge was the small congregation at Bethel Church in Frederick, Maryland. Henry then established Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Hagerstown. In 1872 the church published his autobiography, which details his perspective on John Brown, reveals much about life at the Maryland Ironworks and covers the early history of the AME church.

Richard Kline is a graduate of Shippensburg University with degrees in Art, History and Education. He also holds a Master’s Degree in European history. Kline currently teaches at Windsor Mill Middle School in Baltimore, Maryland, where he is also the Department Chair of Social Studies. He has been teaching for 13 years and is an active historian who focuses on local African American history, Civil War history and European history. Kline resides in Greencastle, Pennsylvania with his wife and two children.

“Richard Kline is a very knowledgeable speaker on Thomas Henry,” said Ron Lytle, chairman of the African American Historical Association. “He is extremely dedicated to sharing his historical knowledge to educate our youth and the community.”

The program is free of charge. It is sponsored by the Washington County Historical Society, the African American Historical Association, Visit Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Franklin County Visitors Bureau and the Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society.

The primary function of the African American Historical Association is to research African American history and culture and utilize that research to further educate and inform communities in western Maryland and Pennsylvania. For more information about African American Heritage in Washington County, visit