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Maryland Emancipation Day 2020 Celebrations

Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park
Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park in Sandy Spring, MD

November 1, 1864 marked a pivotal day in Maryland’s history when a new state constitution freed all those held in bondage within its boundaries. The decision made Maryland one of the earliest states to abolish slavery – a full year ahead of the 13th Amendment.

In celebration of this landmark day – known as Emancipation Day in Maryland – there are a number of events happening across Montgomery County, Maryland in 2020. These include activities centered on sharing the history of slavery in Maryland through live demonstrations, guided tours and educational exhibitions.

Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park

Take a self-guided walk along the Underground Experience Trail at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park. Sometimes referred to as the UGRR Trail, the experience was established in 1998 as part of a community master plan to provide pedestrian trails while commemorating Montgomery County’s participation in the Underground Railroad. There is no evidence that Woodlawn Manor’s owners, property or buildings were involved in the Underground Railroad. Today the trail is owned and operated by Montgomery Parks/M-NCPPC and is part of the Rachel Carson Greenway and the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program.

WHEN: Anytime
TYPE: Self-Guided
HOSTED BY: Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park

Sandy Spring Slave Museum & African Art Gallery

Since 1988, visitors of the Sandy Spring Slave Museum and African Art Gallery have learned about Sandy Spring’s Quaker history and its ties to the Underground Railroad. Commemorate the final end of the Triangle Trade Route and the abolishment of slavery during the museum’s Emancipation Day Celebration. Event Details

WHEN: Thursday, October 29 at 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
TYPE: Virtual Event
HOSTED BY: Sandy Spring Slave Museum & African Art Gallery

Button Farm Living History Center

The historic Button Farm, home to the Menare Foundation, is Maryland’s only living history center depicting 19th century slave plantation life and the heroic story of the Underground Railroad through its unique living history experiences. The Emancipation Day celebration at Button Farm will include an emancipation-themed self-guided tour accessible by your phone through our QR portal. The tour will include the farm and Slave Cemetery. Scavenger hunts, farm animals, hands-on history, vendors, and musical acts will help to round out the day. Event Details

WHEN: Saturday, October 31 at 12:00 pm – 3 pm
TYPE: In-Person Event
HOSTED BY: Button Farm Living History Center
16820 Black Rock Road
Germantown, MD 20874

Peerless Rockville

Mark Emancipation Day with the powerful story of the Rockville Weems family’s brave quest for freedom for all of their children. Please join Peerless Rockville as we welcome Canadian historians Bryan and Shannon Prince sharing the heart wrenching and occasionally heartwarming story of the enslaved family of John and Arabella Weems, who endured the nightmare of being, sold, separated and scattered throughout the south. Their epic story involved extensive webs of slave traders, Underground Railroad operatives and abolitionists from Canada, Great Britain, Jamaica as well as the United States. Inspired by the unprecedented impact of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s masterwork “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” sympathizers donated their money and energies to contribute to the rescue and reunion of the family. Their daughter Ann Maria Weems is perhaps the most well-known freedom seeker on Rockville’s Underground Railroad. Event Details

WHEN: Sunday, November 1 at 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
TYPE: Virtual Event
HOSTED BY: Peerless Rockville

Montgomery History

On November 1, 1864, Maryland became the first state below the Mason-Dixon Line to free slaves within its boundaries by popular vote. On the 156th anniversary of Emancipation in the Old Line State, two chroniclers of Montgomery County history will describe local experiences with slavery, war, emancipation, and its aftermath. Germantown Historical Society Susan Soderberg and Historian Eileen McGuckian will lead the discussion. Events Details

WHEN: Tuesday, November 3 at 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
TYPE: Virtual Event
HOSTED BY: Montgomery History

Looking for more ways to explore Montgomery County’s history and heritage sites? Check out The Perfect Weekend Getaway Itinerary for History Lovers, African American Historic Sites, and more.