Newell Quinton prepares homemade scrapple, continuing a family tradition that was passed down to him from his father and grandfather. In the past, most of the families in his hometown of San Domingo, Maryland, would slaughter a hog and make sausage, scrapple, and hams to last through the winter. Today participants in the annual affair have dwindled. Quinton, however, is dedicated to passing on his family recipes and community traditions through public programs at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art and with the Maryland State Arts Council, educating people about a cherished agricultural way of life.
San Domingo is a small African American community located just outside Sharptown, in Wicomico County, adjacent the Nanticoke River. It was founded by former Haitian slaves around 1820 and served as a haven for freed blacks from the region. San Domingo eventually became a prosperous African American community, but it has lost much of the vitality it once had. In 1997, Quinton and others in the community formed the John Quinton Foundation/Restoration Project to help preserve and perpetuate their history and heritage. The organization spearheaded the campaign to restore the San Domingo Rosenwald rural school as a community center, honoring an important legacy in the history of African American communities throughout the nation.
Quinton’s maintenance of traditional scrapple and hog preparation as well as the leadership he provides to ongoing preservation efforts maintains important links to the region’s past. His engagement with the African American community of the Eastern Shore brings their traditions to the forefront of the public mind.