The HonoreePossibly of African and Portuguese descent, Mathias de Sousa was an indentured servant brought to Maryland, USA by Jesuit missionaries in 1634. His indenture was finished by 1638, and he became a mariner and fur trader. He served in the 1642 legislative assembly of freemen. As such. he is the first African American to sit in any legislative body in what would become the United States. Until 1670, even freemen of color such as de Sousa had the right to vote.
St. Mary's County, MarylandSt. Mary's County was settled by the Chaptico when the English Catholic immigrants arrived. At a time when the British colonies were settled primarily by Protestants, St. Mary’s was considered to be the birthplace of religious freedom in English North America. Today, the county is part of the Metropolitan Baltimore-Washington area and is about 15 percent Black in a state that is more than 30 percent Black.