maryland emancipation day

Celebrate the 150th anniversary of Maryland Emancipation Day

The Maryland- National Capital Park and Planning Commission and Heritage Montgomery will host a series of events to honor the 150th anniversary of Maryland Emancipation Day on Nov. 1 and 2 throughout Montgomery County parks.

maryland emancipation dayAccording to, on November 1, 1864,  a new state constitution was adopted, which freed enslaved people living in Maryland. Slaves in states of rebellion were freed by President Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation of January 1, 1863. Maryland was a Union State During the Civil War, in which slavery was legal.

“This year heritage Montgomery is partnering with the parks in order to broaden the scope of the celebrations,” said Lori Ranney, deputy director at Heritage Montgomery.

The free family events will feature commemorative programs, food, games, hands on activities, demonstrations, music, and more.

Ranney said each location is somehow “tied” to Maryland history, and each place is unique.

“There’s a lot of different things going on,” Ranney said.

Places to celebrate Maryland Emancipation day:

Beall-Dawson Historical Park

The event will feature historic persona reenactors, music by Washington Revels Jubilee Voices, exhibits and artifacts. Local residents who are descendants of those enslaved in Montgomery County will share stories of their forebears. Saturday, Nov. 1 – noon to 4 p.m. 103 West Montgomery Avenue in Rockville.

Button Farm Living History Center

Bring a picnic to this living history center showing daily plantation life of the enslaved in the 1800s and hear emancipation stories, storyteller Diane Macklin, and enjoy children’s games, butter churning, music, crafts, sack races, horseshoes, corn hole, and more. An African American genealogist will offer tips and recommend resources for families researching their past. Saturday, Nov.1 – noon to 4 p.m. 16820 Black Rock Road in Germantown.

Oakley Cabin African American Museum & Park

The 18th annual Emancipation Day at Oakley Cabin features tours, hearth-cooking demonstrations, crafts & games, an archaeology dig, presentations by living history re-enactors, and music at this site that was home to African American tenant families in the late 1800s. Emancipation Day Program, 2-3:30pm. Parking only at Longwood Local Park, 19300 Georgia Ave with shuttle vans to Oakley Cabin.
Saturday, Nov. 1 – noon to 4 p.m. 3610 Brookeville Road in Olney

Sandy Spring Slave Museum

Visit this museum focusing on African and African American history and culture with exhibits in the Great Hall, a cross-section of a slaving clipper ship, African hut, and log cabin. Special screenings on the hour of Heritage Montgomery’s documentary, “Community Cornerstones: Historic African American Communities in Montgomery County.” Food available for purchase. Saturday, Nov. 1 – noon to 4 p.m. 18524 Brooke Road in Sandy Spring.

Harper Cabin at Brookside Nature Center

Open house at this 19th-century log cabin depicting the life of newly emancipated African American families in the late 1800s: “One Family’s Journey to Success.” Learn the part apples and other crops played in preparing for the coming winter: apple cider pressing, corn grinding, preparing crops for storage, cooking with corn, honey gathering, seed mosaics, games and crafts, and more. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 1 from noon to 4 p.m. and Nov. 2 from 1 to 4 p.m. 1400 Glenallan Avenue in Wheaton.

Sandy Spring Museum

Visit this museum that chronicles local Quaker and African American history in one of the oldest sustained communities of African American landowners in the nation. “Emancipation Proclamation: 150 Years Later” An oral history performance at 2 p.m. on Nov. 1 featuring Harriet Lynn of the Heritage Theatre Artists’ Consortium and six area residents who will share their personal stories and insights on the 150th anniversary of Maryland emancipation; music, poetry, and intriguing tales from past to present.
Saturday, Nov. 1 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2 – noon to 5 p.m. 17901 Bentley Road in Sandy Spring. $5 admission fee

Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park

From Oct. 31 to Nov. 1. On Saturday, hike the Underground Railroad Experience Trail. Learn techniques freedom seekers used to elude pursuers hiking a 2-mile wooded, natural surface trail from Woodlawn to the historic Sandy Spring Friends Meetinghouse. Shuttle vans will transport hikers back to Woodlawn Manor. Hikes at 9, 9:30, and 10 a.m., free.
On Friday, a special night hike, “Voices of the Underground Railroad,” from 7 to 9:30 p.m. This is a round-trip hike. $5 per person and registration is required. Cal l 301.650.4373. 16501 Norwood Road in Sandy Spring

Josiah Henson Park

Tour the historic Riley farm where Rev. Josiah Henson was enslaved from 1795 to 1830. Henson’s 1849 autobiography inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Tours at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.. Emancipation Day program, 3-4 p.m., featuring a re-enactment of an 1860s-era debate, “The Question of Maryland’s Secession,” followed by a performance by Washington Revels Jubilee Voices. Sunday, Nov. 2 – noon to 4 p.m. 11420 Old Georgetown Road in North Bethesda. Parking only across the street at Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center, 5900 Executive Boulevard.


Aline Barros

About Aline Barros

Aline Barros is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at and on Twitter at @AlineBarros2.


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