Warren Crutchfield, the first black head coach in MCPS history, passed away on July 5th.
I had the pleasure of sitting down and speaking with him for about an hour last September at the Sandy Spring Slave Museum.
”Crutch” as he was affectionately known to many was an amazing person that went through a lot in Montgomery County.
Growing up in the 40s, he attended segregated schools. He told me of his elementary school in Rockville, which only had half days. There were two to three classes in one room with smal partitions separating the classes, and the only toilets in the school were outside.
He went to Carver High School, which was located on what is now the corner of Hungerford and Mannakee in Rockville. Carver was unique in that it served only graded 10-12. Kids were bussed in from across the county and sometimes had to leave their homes as early as 3am.
Crutch then attended Maryland State (now Maryland Eastern Shore), where he earned his degree in Physical Education.
“Then I had to visit Uncle Sam” he said, referring to being drafted into the military. “They wanted me to be a para trooper or be in the special forces...but I didn’t want to jump out of any plane!” He did well in science so he was attached to the medical unit in Germany for two years.
When he came back he received a call and was told that he had a job as a traveling P.E. teacher. For four years he travelled between Rockville, Monocacy, and Clarksburg.
During this time he was involved with basketball on the segregated playgrounds in Rockville. A man approached him during a Lincoln Park vs. Twinbrook game and asked if he’d be interested in coaching track, so he was brought in as an assistant basketball coach and track coach at Sherwood High School.
“For cross-country, we’d run all over Ashton. Most of the team was white, and the school would get calls every day asking why a black man was running around with all these white kids.” Crutch told me as he recalled his early coaching days.
Almost unable to control his laughter, Crutch shared a story with me, ”There were orchards all over so the kids would snatch apples, peaches, and whatever fruit they’d run by. I got called in by the principal who asked me if I knew anything about this. I told him I had no idea and that I’ll make sure they stop, but I was trying to hide the fruit I had in my pocket too!”
When he became the head coach of the girls basketball team at Sherwood (the first black head coach in MCPS history), schools would try to charge him to enter games. “I had to have my white assistants come out and get me cause they wouldn’t let me in sometimes.” It didn’t stop there, as referees would often show a lack of respect for Crutch, “When we were in the state championship game the ref came and spoke with one of my assistants instead of me.”
”One thing I did have was the support of all the kids. They were behind me from the start.” He remembers teachers smoking in the faculty lounge so he’d take his lunch to the office and kids would come down and eat with him. It started with a few kids and quickly became a large group rushing just to get a seat.
Crutch taught until 1996. He lived in Rockville all of his life and told me he loved every second of it. I asked him about his favorite restaurant in MoCo and he told it was “Silver Diner. Because you can find healthy stuff and it’s not expensive.”
“I love that Montgomery County is progressive. Anyone can move forward if they have the education. Anywhere you turn, you can find help in Montgomery County.” he said about what he loves about our area. “One thing I don’t like is that most of the neighborhoods are gone. I miss the neighborhoods.”
In honor of Warren Crutchfield, I will continue to try to make our whole county one big neighborhood. A place we can all learn about what’s happening, have civil conversations (even if we don’t agree), learn about the rich history of our county, and occasionally get together and hang out.
Crutch certainly left his mark on Montgomery County. He will be deeply missed.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Crutchfield.
Join your neighbors from near and far and The MoCoShow in celebrating community at the 38th annual Strawberry Festival in Sandy Spring.
Plan to spend the whole day, enjoying live performances, a family-friendly atmosphere and as much strawberry shortcake as your heart desires!
You won’t want to miss this local family-favorite event that’s been serving up good old fashioned fun for 38 years.
*No pets allowed
- MedStar Montgomery Medical Center Main Stage
- Studio of Ballet Arts and PTSMC Community Stage
- Christopher's Hardware Beer & Wine Garden featuring Waredaca Brewing Company, Brookeville Beer Farm , Elder Pine Brewing & Blending Co, and Olney Winery
- Kids' Activities in the Badlands Adventure Zone by Badlands Playspace
- Pony Rides by Reddemeade Horse Center and Park Overlook Farm
- Face Painting
- Petting Zoo
- Obstacle Course by Kang's Black Belt Academy
- Camp Sonshine Moon Bounces
- Rock Climbing Wall
- Fresh Strawberries
- Plant Sale by Sandy Spring Museum Garden Club
- Arts & Crafts Vendors including Memere's Tots Handmade Kids Outfits
- Food Trucks: Corned Beef King, That Smoothie Place, El Pollo Submarine, Holy Crepes, Kona Ice, Chix N Stix, Hardy's BBQ, Balkanik Taste, and CapMac
The Sandy Spring Slave Museum is tucked away off of Rt. 108 in Sandy Spring (18524 Brooke Rd.), so it’s easy to miss, but if you haven’t stopped by yet I highly recommend doing so ASAP.
I stopped by this past weekend and was able to experience a new limited time exhibit “ The History of Black Schools in Montgomery County”. The exhibit highlights the education for black students in Montgomery County, integration of the schools, pioneer educators and the importance of education to the achievement, sustainability and cross-cultural communication of the people from the 17th century to today.
The exhibit runs through October 7th and the museum is open Thursdays from 10:30am-1pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 2pm-4pm. Group tours are available at any time on any day and can be booked by e-mailing email@example.com
Photos will be posted on our Facebook page today and Instagram account tomorrow (@TheMoCoShow).
Per the Sandy Spring Slave Museum & African Art Gallery press release:
“Immerse and educate yourself in the rich culture of the African American experience during Heritage Days June 23rd and 24th at the Sandy Spring Slave Museum & African Art Gallery located at 18524 Brooke Road in the historic Freeman’s Village of Sandy Spring, Maryland.
On Saturday, June 23rd, the museum will open our FREE Heritage Day celebration with a Libation ceremony at noon led by Maxine Holland noted historian. The ceremony commemorates our ancestors on whose shoulders we have stood, honor the struggle of our ancestors, and gives us strength for the continuing struggles ahead and uplifts future generations to continue to achieve greatness.
On both June 23rd and 24th, each guest will have the opportunity to make a quilt square that represents their family, themselves and/or the heritage of our amazing community. All materials will be supplied at no charge. The quilt will be sewn and unveiled on Emancipation Day, November 2018.
Sunday, June 24th the museum will be celebrating the heritage of African American Music with a festival style concert highlighting the importance and history of African-American music and musicians that have helped the country to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice, and to defend our country's enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all. The concert will take the listener on a walk-through time beginning with a traditional drumming circle followed by gospel, call songs of the underground railroad, music of the civil rights movement, Caribbean rhythms, jazz, and R & B classics.
The Sandy Spring Slave Museum will also offer guided and self-guide tours during Heritage Days
that will provide insights into history from Africa through the middle passage, the salvation of the Underground Railroad, the struggle for civil rights and the heritage of African American families for whom Montgomery County is home, that will engage and stimulate community conversation bringing people together. Guests can tour our full-sized replica of a slaving clipper ship, a replica of the boyhood home of Nelson Mandela, a historic log, cabin circa 1895, relocated from Olney Md to the museum grounds, and many more artifacts, art and treasures of the experiences of Black life.
Numerous information and food vendors will be participating in our Heritage Day celebration including local Sandy Spring vendors Tom Farquhar (Sandy Spring Farm) and Dani Smith (Bad Azz Bakery) whose families were founding members of the community, Norma Brooks (NJB Basket of Jewels) local folk artist and designer, Sistah Circle drummers, The African American Health Program, and much more!
For more information a complete listing can be found on the Sandy Spring Museum website,
Below you’ll see some images from the museum.
I was sent a few images of the Sherwood High School yearbook from 1940.
The yearbook contains:
• a hand-carved wooden cover
• pages that are hand-typed
• pictures that are actual prints glued on to each page.
In the image below you’ll see a page of students that contains a photo of “Fritzi” Farquhar. Those familiar with Olney will recognize the last name.
William Henry Farquhar (1813-1887), known for his influence in the development of Montgomery County, moved to Sandy Spring with his family when he was just 11. Throughout the course of his life, he was a teacher, principal, and president of the board of school commissioners among various other important roles in the county.
The first middle school in MoCo was named in his honor in 1968 (William H. Farquhar Middle School).
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On this page below you’ll see William Alvin Gaither– another familiar last name in the county.
Benjamin Gaither (1784-1838) is the namesake of Gaithersburg. Gaithersburg was incorporated as a town in 1878 and as a city in 1968.
Fun fact: Gaithersburg campaigned, unsuccessfully, to replace Rockville as the county seat in 1881.
In the pages below you’ll see the detailed history of Sherwood High School, including sketches of how the school looked through the years (until 1940).