A Celebration of Justice & Equity: Tribute to Freedom Seekers

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The public is invited to a special celebration of equity and justice for the unveiling of brass “stopping stones” commemorating five local freedom seekers who risked their lives attempting to escape bondage in St. Mary’s County in the 1800s.

All are welcome.

The ceremony will take place at the Old Jail Museum & Leonardtown Visitor Center, located on the lawn of the St. Mary's County Circuit Courthouse in Downtown Leonardtown, followed by a brief reception. The Old Jail Museum is a significant location of this story—the five freedom seekers were all subsequently held at the Old Jail site after being recaptured during their flight.
The commemoration will be highlighted by local dignitaries and special guests recounting the freedom seeker’s stories as well as vocal, dance, and other artistic presentations from area high school students in recognition of justice and equity for all.

The official stopping stones will also be unveiled to the public as a permanent reminder of their stories and hope for a better and more just society in the future.

The winners of an art contest open to area students will also be announced that day in recognition of their efforts. To learn more about this contest and how to participate, email stmarys.justsociety@gmail.com

Background: On November 1, 2019, and November 1, 2021, the St. Mary’s County Museum Division, in partnership with other community partners, held well-attended Maryland Emancipation Day events, and 2023 will be the 3rd commemoration event memorializing that day.