Eps 71 Stansbury Family-1: Wardell

Interviews, Local Residents

Many locals know of the Stansbury Family and their many accomplishments. Our casual historian of HdG has had the wonderful opportunity to meet Cassie Stansbury, wife of the late Wardell Stansbury. Cassie has been sharing her stories as well as working with George, sorting through the many pieces of history and memorabilia she has collected over the years.

While researching for this blog post, we found the following pdf from The Hon. Robert E. Bauman of Maryland in the House of Representatives acknowledging Wardell Stansbury on August 12, 1974:

…there is a tendency to forget how much race relations have improved in recent years, but a good example of this improvement occurred recently when the Honorable Wardell V. Stansbury was elected the first black city council president of Havre de Grace, Md., in my congressional district.

Mr. Stansbury comes from a distinguished family of community leaders in Harford County, Md., and also serves as director of family services for the Maryland Department of Social Services in Bel Air.

I include an article from the Record of Havre de Grace which details the admirable career of this young man: IF YOU DON’T HOPE . . . (By Mike Norris)

from GoVinfo.gov

Wardell Stansbury was born May 12, 1935, son of the late Mary V. Stansbury and Clayton C. Stansbury, Sr., and died June 22, 2020. He was the youngest of seven children.

Wardell was the first African American to be President of the Havre de Grace City Council, serving from 1971-1979. (His sister-in-law Mildred Gore Stansbury was the first African-American to be elected to Havre de Grace City Council.)

nameplate for Wardell Stansbury, Council President, City of Havre de Grace
Wardell Stansbury busy at his desk.

Cassie, his wife of 56 years is shown in this photo from the ’70s, presenting the flag during a July 4 celebration. The Mayor was ill and Wardell was not able to attend.

Cassie Stansbury standing in for the Major in the 1970s, presenting the flag during a July 4 celebration.
Cassie Stansbury standing in for the Major in the 1970s, presenting the flag during a July 4 celebration.

In 2015, Wardell was added to the Havre de Grace Warriors’ Hall of Fame for his athleticism and many lifetime accomplishments.

Remember, you can click on a photo to zoom in…

2015 Havre de Grace Warriors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Wardell Stansbury inducted in Havre de Grace Warriors Hall of Fame in 2015

Wardell was in the last graduating class of 1953, of the Havre de Grace Colored School. He is also a graduate of Morgan College (now Morgan University). He excelled in cross country and track for Havre de Grace Colored School and for Morgan College. He also continued to run track and set records while in the United States Army, where he was commissioned a second lieutenant. Wardell also earned a Master’s Degree in Community Relations from the University of Texas.

Wardell Stansbury, on far right, member of Morgan College track team.
Wardell is on the far right of this photo.

Cassie recalls that Wardell was particularly proud to have Martin Luther King give the commencement speech at his graduation ceremony from Morgan College. Below are a few mementos:

banner and megaphone for Morgan State University

Just before finishing this post, I found this gem from Patricia Cole, President of the Havre de Grace Colored School Foundation. There are some great photographs!

We hope to share many stories in the near future about this family. So keep checking back.

Remember, don’t throw the Havre de Grace ‘stuff’ out when you’re cleaning out a home, settling an estate, or just ‘downsizing,’ without checking in with George. Don’t give him cause to cry!!!

Our ‘casual historian’ is always waiting for your stories and any memorabilia you may want to share.

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