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Celebrate Maryland's Emancipation

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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
Stacie Williams, Annapolis Commission on Maryland’s Constitution of 1864,

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,
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.


Earlier Event: October 24
Baltimore Immigration Summit 2014
Later Event: November 1
Thankful to Give