To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the Maryland Constitution of 1864, which ended slavery in the “Free State,” Harford Community College has announced an engaging series, “Faces of Freedom: The Upper Chesapeake and Beyond.” Featuring a play, an exhibit, book and film discussions, and lectures, the activities kick off Feb 19th and runs through Saturday, May 10th. The programs focus on freedom, slavery, and emancipation in the Civil War era and include a keynote lecture, “Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade.”
The centerpiece of this initiative is the staging of the play “Susquehanna to Freedom” on Friday April 4 at the Chesapeake Theater. Written by Dr. Dorothy E. King, the play examines the Susquehanna River’s role in the Underground Railroad. This production premiered in 2013 at Penn State, Harrisburg and the Maryland opening will be at Harford Community College.
On May 10 gather on the banks of the Susquehanna River as local spiritual and cultural leaders honor ancestors by planting a tree in their memory, pouring libations and acclaiming the lifework of freedom seekers, abolitionists and others who struggled to free themselves. Spirituals and freedom songs will set the atmosphere.
There are plenty of other activities, including the interpretive exhibit, which uses display panels, artifacts, photographs, and original documents to present the story of those who sought or fought for freedom. Book discussions, lectures and film screenings include Uncle Tom, the Souls of Black Folk, a Regiment of Slaves: the 4 USCI, Prigg V Pennsylvania, Glory, Twelve Years a Slave, and achieving emancipation.
“Funding for “Faces of Freedom” comes from the Maryland Humanities Council, National Endowment for the Humanities and Gilder Lehrman Institute. Other partners include the Hosanna School Museum and the Historical Society of Harford County.