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Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom

Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom was born on March 14, 1925 in Pensacola, Florida. His mother was a domestic and later a chef. After the death of his father during his early childhood, Bascom was raised by his maternal grandmother. He earned his high school diploma in 1942 from Washington High School where he was active in the chorus, drama club and a member of the tennis team. That same year Bascom was called to the ministry and preached his trial sermon at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola.

In 1946, Bascom earned his B.S. degree in English from Florida Memorial College. He also served as pastor of Shiloh Baptist and First Baptist Church, both in Pensacola. In 1948, he earned his bachelor’s of divinity degree from Howard University. The following year, Bascom began his 46-year tenure at Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore, Maryland.

While at Douglas, Bascom demonstrated his strong leadership skills in the pulpit as well as the community. In 1962, he created “Camp Farthest Out,” an overnight summer camp for underprivileged children. In 1963, Bascom participated in the Gwen Oak Park Demonstration, a protest that led to the desegregation of Baltimore’s amusement parks. Bascom was appointed Baltimore’s first African American Fire Commissioner in 1968, and under his leadership and direction calm was restored to the city after the disturbances following Martin Luther King’s assassination. In 1970, he received an honorary doctorate of divinity from his alma mater, Florida Memorial College.

Bascom also founded the Association of Black Charities, an umbrella organization of the United Way. Bascom’s commitment to the community included the development of Douglas Village, a 49-unit apartment complex, The Douglas Memorial Federal Credit Union and a “Meals-on-Wheels” program for the sick and elderly.

After his retirement from Douglas Memorial in 1995, Bascom served as the interim Director of Morgan University’s Christian Center. He received numerous awards for his civic and community leadership. He was a member of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, the National Council of Community Churches and the Baltimore Hospitals Commission Board.

Bascom passed away on May 17, 2012 at age 87.

Accession Number

A2005.008

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/11/2005

Last Name

Bascom

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Curtis

Occupation
Schools

Washington High School

Booker T. Washington High School

Spencer Bibbs Elementary School

Ray Elem School

Florida Memorial University

Howard University School of Divinity

First Name

Marion

Birth City, State, Country

Pensacola

HM ID

BAS01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nassau, Bahamas

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Interview Description
Birth Date

3/14/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Rack of Lamb

Death Date

5/17/2012

Short Description

Civic leader and pastor Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom (1925 - 2012 ) served over four decades as a reverend at Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore, Maryland. He created “Camp Farthest Out,” an overnight summer camp for underprivileged children, and was appointed as Baltimore’s first African American Fire Commissioner. Reverend Marion Bascom passed away on May 17, 2012.

Employment

First Baptist Church of St. Augustine

Douglas Memorial Community Church

Baltimore City Fire Department

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260637">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260638">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260639">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom talks about his mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260640">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom talks about his father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260641">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom describes his paternal family history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260642">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom describes his maternal family history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260643">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260644">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom describes the segregation in Pensacola, Florida during the 1930s and 1940s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260645">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom remembers his neighborhood in Pensacola, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260646">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom talks about Spencer Bibbs Elementary School in Pensacola, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260647">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom recalls his early aspiration to be a preacher</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260648">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260649">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom remembers Vernon T. McDaniel, principal of Washington High School in Pensacola, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260650">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom talks about growing up with his strict maternal grandmother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260651">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom remembers first preaching at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260652">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom talks about attending Florida Normal and Industrial College in St. Augustine, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260653">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom recalls his first jobs as pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church and First Baptist Church in St. Augustine, Florida</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260654">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom describes his experience at Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260655">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom recalls becoming pastor at Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260656">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom describes Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260657">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom describes the rise of the Civil Rights Movement in Baltimore, Maryland, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260658">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom describes the rise of the Civil Rights Movement in Baltimore, Maryland, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260659">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom shares his past hope during the Civil Rights Movement and present frustration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260660">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom recalls responses to demonstrations and riots in Baltimore, Maryland in the 1960s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260661">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom remembers the meeting of several prominent African American leaders with Maryland's Governor Spiro Agnew in 1968</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260662">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom talks about the establishment of Camp Farthest Out in Sykesville, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260663">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom talks about the founding of Douglas Village in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260664">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom describes the creation and achievements of Associated Black Charities in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260665">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom talks about his retirement from pastoring Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260666">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom talks about his concerns for the black church, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260667">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom talks about his concerns for the black church, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260668">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom reflects upon his accomplishments as pastor of Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260669">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260670">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom talks about his vision for African American churches</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260671">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260672">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260673">Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom gives advice for those seeking to be clergy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260674">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom narrates his photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/260675">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom narrates his photographs, pt. 2</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

3$6

DATitle
Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom describes the rise of the Civil Rights Movement in Baltimore, Maryland, pt. 2
Reverend Marion Curtis Bascom reflects upon his accomplishments as pastor of Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore, Maryland
Transcript
I was commissioner of the fire department during the disturbances when Mart- [Reverend Dr.] Martin Luther King [Jr.] was killed, so that I was one of the few people who could drive around the city [Baltimore, Maryland], anywhere I wanted to go, because I wore a white hat from the fire department. There were three commissioners, and I was the one black.$$You were the first African American.$$Yeah, yeah. I not only hope I, I know I was the first black, but I hope that I, because of my actions, elicited support and, and everything else because I did a good job and helped to break the backbone of segregation in the fire department, when blacks could not sleep in the same beds that white firefighters used, so that this was a time of great ferment. This as a time when [H.] Rap Brown [Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin] was loose, when Gloria Richardson was loose, the Black Panthers [Black Panther Party] were loose, so that, as I said, it was fortuitous that I was here at that time, and I got into it. And I don't remember all the details, but I was present. And when Martin Luther King wanted to come to town or needed to come to town for support--the man who lies dead today, Samuel T. Daniels, you never, you did not get a chance to interview him, did you?$$I don't believe so.$$No. Well, Samuel T. Daniels became the grand master of the Masonic fraternity. And every single thing that I'm talking to you about now Samuel T. Daniels had his hands in it. This was the time of [HistoryMaker] Parren [J.] Mitchell, [III]. This was a time of Joseph [C.] Howard [Sr.]. It was just a time when everybody was on tiptoe, anxious to break, as Mordecai Johnson used to put it at Howard [University, Washington, D.C.], to break the backbone of segregation.$[HistoryMaker] Reverend [Marion Curtis] Bascom, when you look back at your life, what stands out the most to you and why?$$I think what stands out most with me is the fact that the church [Douglas Memorial Community Church, Baltimore, Maryland] that I led provided me an opportunity to establish a credit union [Douglas Memorial Federal Credit Union Inc., Baltimore, Maryland] with around a million dollars in assets; a Meals on Wheels program where volunteers take food to the hungry five days a week; for Camp Farthest Out [Sykesville, Maryland], that cares for children and is still ripe for further enhancement and to give further service; I think of Douglas Memorial Village [Douglas Village, Baltimore, Maryland]; I think of the loyalty of those people who provided for me, flight to go to the march on Selma [Alabama] and Montgomery [Alabama] and provided a place where we were one of the churches that permitted Stokely Carmichael [Kwame Ture] to, to have a speaking engagement in our church on one Saturday evening when nobody else would accept him. Those, those are just some of the things that I'm happy about and remember, that Douglas Memorial has loved me when I strained them, and well, in the words of Mordecai Johnson, in answer to that question, I've just given you the introduction to the answer. There are so many others that I could think about.