By Molly Weeks Crumbley
a disappearance named CHARLES HENRY named WILLIAM FRANCIS named JACOB BRISCOE
named WLLIAM BARNES named ELIZA ANN LEA named BILL DYSON named JOHN DORSEY named HARRY EDELIN named CHARLES BATSON named GEORGE THOMAS
named HENRY GOUGH named HEZEKIAH TABBS named JIM DORSEY named ROBERT GAINER named GEORGE TILGHMAN named JOHN THOMAS named LEWIS DORSEY named NEALY LEIGH
named ISSAC BLACKISTONE named JOHN FENICK named WASHINGTON MORELAND
named HENRY BUTLER
named HILLARY BEENDER named GEORGE PATTERSON named DONEY BARNES named CHARLES BROWN
named HENRY WOODWARD named DENIS GUIBERT named PHIL CARBERRY
named JANE HUGHES named JOHN LEWIS
named AMBROSE MILLARD named MOSES BENNETT named ARNOLD JONES named ROMULUS WHALIN named THOMAS GROSS named BENEDICT THOMAS named JOHN THOMAS
named HENRY COOPER
named JORDAN BROOKS named JOHN GROSS a good loss a delightful cut into the land
—“A disappearance” by Quenton Baker
The above poem, among many others by Quenton Baker, makes up part of the erasure poetry displayed on one wall of the award-winning Commemorative to Enslaved Peoples of Southern Maryland. Created two years ago at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the commemorative is a starkly beautiful piece of immersive art marking the location of former slave quarters. The structure invites the viewer to contemplate the nature of slavery and its ripple effects. The Commemorative, according to SMCM President Dr. Tuajuanda Jordan, was conceived as “a living monument to give a voice to those who had been silenced throughout our history.”
Now, on the second anniversary of the Commemorative, the St. Mary’s College community will gather to mark the occasion with a special event. The Sacred Journey: The Beloved Community will take place on Nov. 4 at 4:30 pm at the Commemorative. After music, spoken word performances, and remarks from Jordan and the president of the St. Mary’s County chapter of the NAACP, guests are invited to join student musicians on a Procession of Dignity. As participants make their way towards the college’s waterfront, they will encounter signage on historical information about slavery as well as questions designed to inspire thoughtful reflection. Participants who are unable to make the walk will be provided with golf cart transportation.
Once all are gathered at the waterfront around 5:20 pm, The Sacred Journey will reach its powerful conclusion. Following a performance by the Southern Maryland Community Mass Choir, students will read out the names of over 120 people who were enslaved on the surrounding property. The event will close with a candlelit libation ceremony led by students.
“Through the emerging tradition of the Sacred Journey, we renew that purpose to educate, enlighten, and empower today’s generations to redeem that history – a call to action to do more in our own communities to address the legacy of slavery and other forms of oppression and marginalization in our nation,” said Jordan.
Those planning to attend should enter the St. Mary’s College campus via Mattapany Road and follow signs to the designated parking areas. In the event of bad weather, the event will be held indoors at the Nancy R. & Norton T. Dodge Performing Arts Center. For more information, visit www.smcm.edu/sj.