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Maryland Emancipation Day 2021 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 2021. 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

WHEN: November 6, 10:00 am and 1:00 pm
TYPE: Guided Hikes, Tickets Required

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: Saturday, November 6 at 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
TYPE: In Person
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. 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

Join Peerless Rockville and local historians Ralph Buglass and Chiquita Sorrels for a walking tour of downtown Rockville’s African-American sites as we mark Emancipation Day in Maryland. Learn about the self-emancipation of the brave fugitives who fled slavery, the lives of the newly freed, and the growth of the strong Black communities who fought for equality during the following era of segregation. Event Details

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

Josiah Henson Museum & Park in Montgomery County, MD
Josiah Henson Museum & Park

Josiah Henson Museum & Park

On November 1, 1864, the state of Maryland emancipated all enslaved persons. The Josiah Henson Museum and Park is uplifting their stories through a virtual celebration. Our celebration features greetings from Rev. Josiah Henson, by re-enactor, Kelvin Fowler; a tour of our sister site, Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site in Ontario, Canada; and the reading of the 1864 amendment to the state constitution. Event Details

WHEN: Monday, November 1 at 2:00pm
TYPE: Virtual Event

WHEN: Saturday, November 6 at 10:00am – 4:00pm
TYPE: Open House, Free Admission

HOSTED BY: Montgomery Parks

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