The 2022 issue of Destination Maryland, the state’s official travel magazine, once again presents a pleasing photogenic panorama, beckoning visitors to explore each region’s outstanding attractions.
But for this community, the current issue contained an extra measure of pride. Cambridge was represented not only inside its pages, but right on the cover.
Reflecting the state’s mission to honor 200 years of Harriet Tubman history, the front piece features Dorchester County artist Michael Rosato’s iconic “Take My Hand” mural adorning an outside wall behind the Harriet Tubman Museum and Education Center downtown.
The larger-than-life image aptly portrays the heroic Underground Railroad leader emerging from the Dorchester landscape where she was born and where she returned over and over, risking her own life and freedom, to rescue others. Pictured stepping one foot onto the painted brick wall’s opening, Tubman seems to reach from beyond the mists of time right into the present day, offering her hand to those wanting to learn not only her story, but their own.
Located a bit off the main thoroughfare of Race Street behind Cannery Row, designated as Stop #5 on the historic Harriet Tubman Byway self-driving tour, the mural has drawn an emotional response from countless people from around the state, the nation and the world. Children as young as toddlers, teens, couples, families and senior citizens alike revel in touching Tubman’s hand, gazing in silent reverence, or having one’s photo taken at the site as a treasured keepsake.
To help convey the impact of Tubman’s legacy as well as showcase an invigorated downtown, the magazine brought a photographer to town to gather pictures of related venues and local businesses. When Thomas Malkus learned about it, he reached out to another Cambridge resident, his friend Dormaim Green, and asked if she and her family would mind being in the photos.
Green readily agreed and was joined by husband Elbert and son Destin. “We definitely enjoyed doing it,” she noted, recalling getting “chills” standing in front of the mural. They discovered a number of shops they hadn’t yet been in and were welcomed with breakfast by Blackwater Bakery on Race Street, across from the Tubman Museum (those shots can be found on the state tourism website). “But we never imagined that we’d actually be on the cover!” Green said.
Although the three were facing the mural with their backs to the camera, once the publication was released, she began receiving emails from people congratulating her. “One lady told me, ‘Most people might not know who you are, but everybody in Cambridge knows who it is.’”
Dormaim and Elbert, both born and raised in Cambridge, have been together for 30 years as romantic and work partners. Owner of The Property Shoppe on Poplar Street, Dormaim is the first African American female to own a real estate brokerage in Cambridge, she said. Elbert is a mortgage loan officer, but also an army veteran and independent businessman who has been a bail bondsman, club owner and landlord. Most of all, he considers himself an entrepreneur at heart, and coined the phrase “couplepreneur” to describe the ongoing mutual enterprising spirit and efforts shared by his wife and himself.
Dormaim has been active in numerous community organizations over the years, but among those she’s proudest of is founding a local chapter of Girl Trek. This past January marked five full years that the group has been walking as an empowering daily health ritual health regimen.
“I became involved after hearing a Ted talk speaking about the fact that 137 Black women died every day of heart disease. So, that number really hit home with me. I heard the talk on a Tuesday, and on that Saturday, I had a group out walking,” Green said.
“We have two walk times, in the morning and evening, 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., to meet the different schedules of those wanting to take part. We’ve had 53 people registered, and from 13 to 17 getting out there every day,” she noted. The group has paused during the coldest months but will resume as soon as the weather warms up.
The group’s parent organization, national nonprofit GirlTrek: Healthy Black Women and Girls, is largely inspired by Harriet Tubman’s powerful example of walking throughout her long life and making enormous contributions as an abolitionist, freedom fighter, Union armed scout and soldier, nurse, and suffragist (she died at age 93 on March 10, 1913), Green said.
The couple’s son, Destin, currently a senior at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School, is actively involved in the National Honor Society, in band as a drum major, chorus, plus indoor and outdoor cross-country track. He’s currently on the path to attain his goal of attending either the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado or the Citadel in South Carolina (the family toured the latter over the Valentine’s Day weekend and has been academically accepted to both schools, his mother proudly said).
With Destin about to graduate, Dormaim and Elbert were already expecting 2022 to be filled with numerous celebratory family milestones, including their own 55th birthdays. The surprise of starting things off by representing their hometown on the cover of the official state promotional publication is a most welcome bonus to cap off a memorable year.
For more information about Destination Maryland, The Official Maryland Travel Magazine, visit the Maryland Department of Commerce Office of Tourism at visitmaryland.org.