Louis Diggs was an historian and author who dedicated nearly three decades to researching and writing about African American history in Baltimore County.
Mr. Diggs published his first book, “It All Started on Winters Lane: A History of the Black Community in Catonsville, Maryland,” in 1995 and went on to write 12 more.
Born in Baltimore, in 1950 he joined an all-Black Maryland National Guard unit. During his two years in Korea, Mr. Diggs drove trucks full of supplies and materials across the war zone.
After retiring from the military, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree and a master’s of public administration. For nearly 20 years, he worked in the Washington, D.C., school system.
Mr. Diggs’ work chronicled the history of African American communities of Turner Station, Sparrows Point and East Towson, as well as those in Catonsville and Reisterstown, among others.
He wrote about African Americans from Baltimore County who served in the Civil War, World War I, World War II and the Korean War. Mr. Diggs would conduct interviews with families and the elderly in communities to get oral histories. He’d collect photographs and dig through historical archives.
While other historians may be protective of their work, Mr. Diggs was always happy to help.
Mr. Diggs helped renovate the Cherry Hill African Union Methodist Protestant Church, an historically Black church in western Baltimore County, and transform it into the Diggs-Johnson Museum, honoring the county’s 40 historically African American communities.
A person of many talents, while living in Germany, he would go out to antique stores and purchase broken-down clocks, which he learned how to fix. He also made uncut rocks into jewelry.
Mr. Diggs was also the 2019 recipient of Preservation Alliance’s John McGrain Lifetime Preservation Achievement Award.