Celebrate Maryland's Emancipation
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Skip Navigation LinksHome > Events > Celebrate Maryland's Emancipation

Celebrate Maryland's Emancipation 

Kids playing 
Nace's Day Parade


Maryland Emancipation Day

Come celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Emancipation from Slavery in Maryland!

This momentous event marked Maryland as the first slave state to voluntarily free its enslaved people by popular vote. One hundred fifty years ago on November 1, 1864, the Maryland State Legislature adopted a new state constitution, which emancipated Maryland’s slaves. President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863 had only freed slaves in states of rebellion, of which Maryland was not one. During the Civil War, Maryland was a Union State in which slavery was legal.

Maryland Emancipation Day was formally commemorated in 1865 in the City of Frederick and in 1867 in Trappe, MD, where Nathaniel Hopkins founded the celebration. The celebration in Trappe included church services, speakers, food, music and a parade, which Hopkins led. Nathaniel or “Nace” Hopkins was born enslaved around 1831 in Trappe and later served in the Union Army. He returned to Trappe after the war, where he worked to assist newly freed black men and women. Nace organized what is today Scotts United Methodist Church and established and constructed Trappe’s first African American school in 1878. Upon his death in 1900, the citizens of Trappe decided to continue the tradition of the Emancipation Day festivities. They named the day “Nace Hopkins Day.”

Today, there are many celebrations of Maryland’s Emancipation Day across the state, especially during this Jubilee year.

Annapolis Commission On Maryland's 3rd Constitution - And The Abolishment Of Slavery - Annapolis 1864
Saturday, October 25 – Saturday, November 1, 2014 
Contact: Janice Hayes-Williams, City of Annapolis CCHAYE00@aacounty.org
Stacie Williams, Annapolis Commission on Maryland’s Constitution of 1864, annapolis1864@gmail.com

Saturday, October 25

Encampment (Re-enactment 1864)
10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center
1101 Smithville Street
Annapolis, MD  21401
Black Union soldiers explain life during the Civil War.
More info...

Monday, October 27

Opening Week Reception: City of Annapolis Documentary Screening
VIP: 5 – 6 p.m. PUBLIC: 6 – 8 p.m.
Banneker Douglass Museum
84 Franklin Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
More info...

Tuesday, October 28

Exhibits & Lectures – Maryland State Archives
5 – 7 p.m.
Lecture by Anthony Cohen
Maryland State Archives
350 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, MD 21401
More info...

Wednesday, October 29

Lecture – Author John Stauffer, Ph.D. Harvard University Professor
Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln
6 – 8 p.m.
St. John’s College, Francis Scott Key Auditorium
Annapolis, MD 21401
Theatre - "Four Women of Annapolis"
(Scott Preston, Interpreter)
More info...

Friday, October 31

Port Marker, Libation Ceremony
City Dock, Susan Campbell Park
Annapolis, MD  21401
More info...

        Maryland Emancipation Day Celebrations in Montgomery County Parks
Friday, October 31 to Sunday, November 2, 2014
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Contact: Shirl Spicer, Montgomery County Parks, Shirlene.Spicer@montgomeryparks.org
Maryland freed all people held in bondage within its boundaries on November 1, 1864 by a new state constitution. Please join us in celebration of Maryland Emancipation Day in our parks the weekend of October 31 to November 2, 2014! Hike the Underground Railroad, tour a slave cabin, visit an African American history museum, enjoy living history demonstrations and eat great food! Saturday and Sunday Park events are FREE. More information about all our historic programs is available on the Historic Happenings calendar.

Friday, October 31

  • Maryland Emancipation Day Annual Luncheon
    Event is sponsored by By Company 54th Mass Volunteer Infantry Regiment

Saturday, November 1

  •       Button Farm Living History Center Tours & Living History Demonstrations
    16820 Black Road Road
    Germantown, MD  20874
    More info...
  • Harper Cabin at Brookside Nature Center | Tours & Living History Demonstrations
    1400 Glenallen Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902
    More info...
  • Montgomery County Historical Society | Tours & Living History Demonstration
    111 W. Montgomery Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850
    More info...
  • Oakley Cabin African American Museum Park | Live Music & Living History Demonstrations
    3610 Brookeville Road, Olney, MD 20832
    More info...
  • Sandy Spring Museum | Open House
    17901 Bentley Road, Sandy Spring, MD 20860
    More info...
  • Sandy Spring Slave Museum & African Art Gallery | Open House
    18524 Brooke Rod, Sandy Spring, MD 20860
    More info...
  • Underground Railroad Experience Trail Hikes
    Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park
    16501 Norwood Road, Sandy Spring, MD 20860

   More info...

Sunday, November 2

  • Harper Cabin at Brookside Nature Center | Tours & Living History Demonstrations
    1400 Glenallen Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902
    More info...
  • Josiah Henson Park | Open House & Archaeology Dig
    11420 Old Georgetown Road, North Bethesda, MD 20852
    More info...
  • Sandy Spring Museum | Open House
    17901 Bentley Road, Sandy Spring, MD 20860
    More info...

Envisioning Emancipation:  Black Americans and the End of Slavery with Deborah Willis
Lecture & Book Signing
Saturday, November 1, 2014 – Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture
Photographic historian Deborah Willis will explore a body of historic images from the book Envisioning Emancipation:  Black Americans and the End of Slavery.  This rich collection of photographs highlights images of ex-slaves, Civil War Soldiers, emancipation celebrations and family life.
Contact: Lisa Crawley, Reginald F. Lewis Museum
443 263-1816
More info...

Emancipation Day Proclaimed
Quilt Unveiling - Joan M.E. Gaither, PH.D.
West African Spirit Bundles on Display - Mark Leone, PH.D.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Maryland State House
Old House of Delegates Chamber
Annapolis, MD  21401
More info...

Celebration/Awards Gala
Saturday, November 1, 2014
7p.m. - Midnight
Lowes Annapolis Hotel
126 West Street
Annapolis, MD  21401
Awards: Richard Edison Israel, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Phebe Jacobson
More info...

Maryland Emancipation Commemoration Tour in Baltimore County
Saturday, November 1, 2014
9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Contact: Marjorie Hampson, 410 887-4289 or
The Baltimore County Office of Tourism and Promotion is sponsoring a bus trip to various African American sites in the county in honor of the day when the Maryland State Legislature abolished slavery through a new constitution. Local historian Louis Diggs is heading the tour that includes the Hubert V. Simmons Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum to see the “From Banneker to Douglass: The Quests for Freedom and Equality” exhibit, and historic Winters Lane in Catonsville, a national historic district, where Morning Star Baptist Church is located, and finally Turner Station in Dundalk, a respected African American community dating back to 1888. Lunch is included. Reservations required.

Middle Passage Ceremony and Marker Placement at Sotterley
Saturday, November 1, 2014
10 a.m.
Sotterley Plantation
44300 Sotterley Lane
Hollywood, MD 20636
Historic Sotterley Plantation will hold a ceremony to place a marker remembering those who perished during the Middle Passage.  On this special day we will also celebrate the 150th anniversary of Emancipation Maryland.
More info...

Maryland Emancipation Day ‘s 150th Anniversary:  Why We Celebrate

Saturday, November 1, 2014
1-1:30 p.m. and 1:45 - 2:15 p.m.
Banneker-Douglass Museum
84 Franklin St.
Annapolis, MD 21401
410 216-6180
Come join the Banneker-Douglass Museum for a family-friendly program as historic interpreter Ebonee Davis tells a powerful story about the significance of Maryland Emancipation Day. There will be two identical, 30 -minute sessions. One will begin at 1:00pm and the other at 1:45pm. In between each session, visitors will also have the opportunity to participate in a hands-on workshop.  Free. Suitable for all ages. Reservations suggested by October 30th.
More info...

Maryland Emancipation Day Commemoration

Saturday, November 1, 2014
1 – 4 p.m.
Hampton National Historic Site
535 Hampton Lane
Towson, MD 21286
410 823-1309 ext. 251
Pay homage and give respect to those who helped make Maryland and the US great. Join African drummers and dancers along with National Park Service Ranger Anokwale, dressed in period clothing to visit the cemetery on site and learn about those forced into servitude on the Hampton estate. See a portrayal of Harriet Tubman by griot and storyteller Janice Greene or take a guided tour of the slave quarters, overseer’s house and dairy. Admission is free. Reservations not required.

Emancipation Day Event
November 1, 2014
Jane’s Church, Chestertown

Includes music, readings and drama or living historians.
Contact: Historical Society of Kent County, Karen Emerson
410 778-3499

The Revolution is Complete: Emancipation in Maryland
Saturday, November 1, 2014: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
C. Burr Artz Public Library
110 East Patrick Street
Frederick, MD 21701
301 662-3515
Contact: Barbara Justice
This talk by noted author Gail Stephens will explore how the efforts of Lincoln, Maryland Union commander Lew Wallace, Maryland politicians and those most affected – Maryland’s enslaved – all combined to make Emancipation happen.

Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center - 150th Maryland Emancipation Anniversary Commemoration and Gala
Tracey Jones, Director of Media and Public Programsttjones@pgaamcc.org

From Banneker to Douglass:  The Quests for Freedom and Equality
Exhibit date: Nov 1, 2014 through Feb 28, 2015
The aim of this exhibit is to commemorate the early efforts of Maryland’s African Americans and their allies in their pursuit for freedom and equality for all.   Although too numerous to show, the exhibit reveals some of the key and lesser-known movements from the colonial era to the decade before the American Civil War.  These efforts took on many forms that include protest literature, conventions, enslaved people seeking freedom, and educational initiatives.
Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum
300 Oella Ave
Baltimore, MD  21228
More info...

Celebrate Maryland Emancipation at Antietam National Battlefield and Tolson’s Chapel, Sharpsburg.
Saturday, November 1, 2014: 10 a.m.
Antietam National Battlefield
5831 Dunker Church Road
Sharpsburg, MD 21782
301 432-5124
Contact: Dan Vermilya, Antietam National Battlefield
Daniel_Vermilya@nps.gov, 301-432-5124

What Is This Thing Called Slavery? What is This Thing Called Freedom?
Sunday, November 2, 2014
In a series of events the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum embarks on a journey that begins with the day that freedom came, a day called "Jubilee"!  Witness the euphoria, the singing and dancing and praying and parades and speeches.  Then go beyond the jubilation to examine whether both the attitudes that undergirded slavery and the human spirit that sought to rid the nation of it, still exist today.
The Great Blacks in Wax Museum
1601-03 East North Avenue
Baltimore, MD  21213
More info...

Maryland Emancipation Play: Uncle Nace’s Day
Saturday, November 8, 2014: 1 pm
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture
830 E Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
More info...
Contact: Terry Taylor, 443-263-1829
View a jubilant family-friendly production about Maryland Emancipation Day. Actors dressed in period clothing present the day’s historical significance and its relevance in 2014. Teaching artist Culture Queen and her friends use drama, music, and movement to evoke this historic event. The audience will leave the play filled with the spirit of freedom!

More info...

Maryland Slavery and Emancipation Exhibit
Through December 2014
The Children’s Museum of Rose Hill Manor
1611 N Market St, Frederick, MD 21701
301 600-2743
Contact: Kari Saavedra
More info...

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DATE: 04/21/2015
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