You are invited to a special three-day festival celebrating Juneteenth with a focus on the historic community of Scotland, just 20 minutes from St. John’s! Our Racial Justice and Equity Committee has been helping to shape the festival’s history components. Parishioner Mark Edwards is serving as co-chair of the history advisory committee, composed of four other historians and museum professionals.
The Juneteenth festival is certainly about celebration, but importantly, it is also about education. We have developed history presentations along two tracks.
Track 1: A Series of Talks on the African-American Experience in Montgomery County
The first track is a day-long series of talks by noted specialists on the African American experience in Montgomery County. The goal of these presentations is to tell the amazing story about the resilient Scotland community and help raise matching funds for the Scotland AME Zion Church’s ambitious 2nd Century Project, and to educate visitors about the rich heritage of Montgomery County’s African American kinship communities. Importantly, 100% of the proceeds from the festival will be used to support the restoration of Scotland AME Zion Church.
Volunteer historians and museum experts have prepared a set of educational panels that tell the rich story of the resilient Scotland community through the present day. This work incorporates a variety of historic maps, census data, historic photographs, and current architectural renderings. The panels will be placed within the speaker presentation space located in Cabin John Village mall.
On June 19, the following speakers will provide remarks on a wide range of topics:
- Chuck Williams – Scotland: A Walk Through the Recent History and Social Justice
- Tony Cohen – Interpreting Slavery and Freedom: The Mission of the Button Farm Living History Center
- Shirl Spicer – History in the Parks: Focusing on Culture – A Countywide Approach
- Paige Whitley – “Help Us to Help Each Other, Lord” – Black Benevolent Societies in Montgomery County
- Ralph Buglass – Remembering the Rosenwald Schools of Scotland and Other Montgomery County Communities
- Diane Baxter & Chiquita Sorrels – Discovering an African American Cemetery and the Historical Research Tools Used
- Sharon Wilder – Certain Party or Parties Unknown: Raising Awareness of Three African American Men Who Fell Victim to Racial Terror Lynchings in Montgomery County in the 1880s: Mr. John Diggs-Dorsey, Mr. George Peck, and Mr. Sidney Randolph
- Bruce Adams – The History of Montgomery County’s Black Sandlot Baseball Games and Players
Track 2: A History Pavillion
The second track of our work will take place in a separate History Pavilion located in the Cabin John Village community green. Here, a group of educators will be available to share their stories with visitors. Invited specialists include:
- Tony Cohen – Button Farm Living History Center
- Representatives of the Sandy Spring Slave Museum
- Shirl Spicer – Montgomery County African American heritage museums
- Volunteers – Montgomery County Parks’ archaeology program
- Rev. Alexa Frazer & Marla Schulman – Montgomery County Lynching Memorial Project
- Richard Tyler – Emory Grove community and Emory Grove Methodist Church
Mike Johnson – Jim Crow in Maryland
- John and Joan Kelly – descendant of Edward U Taylor, first superintendent of Colored Schools in Montgomery County
Free handouts will include information from Montgomery County’s heritage museum program and its archaeology program. Heritage Montgomery brochures – Crossroads & Culture: African American Heritage in Montgomery County, Maryland; Community Cornerstones: A Selection of African American Churches in Montgomery County, Maryland; and a 2023 Heritage Days brochure – will also be provided, as well as Maryland Office of Tourism travel materials focusing on the African American experience.
Educational Reference Tool: Research Source Materials
Because our history committee wanted to create a permanent educational reference tool to share background research with students and adults, a link to our research will be provided to festival attendees. This will allow access to literally hundreds of research source materials gathered over the past four months. Two broad categories – general African American historical research topics and Internet-accessible videos – will be made available. Research topics include the following: National African American Museums; State of Maryland African American Museums; Juneteenth; Underground Railroad: Emancipation Proclamation; African American History and Genealogical Organizations; Heritage Montgomery (Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County); Maps of Montgomery County-Designated African American Historic Sites and Districts; Montgomery County Parks – Designated Historic Sites and Museums; African American Cemeteries and Burial Grounds – Identification, Preservation and Protection; Maryland African American Heritage Grant Programs; Slavery and the Anti-Slavery Movement in Maryland, Research; Freedmen’s Bureau; Maryland African American Travel Guides; Research Materials for African American History in Montgomery County; Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission; African American Interdisciplinary Research & Techniques; Civil Rights Movement; Social Justice; Racism in Montgomery County & the Nation; Regional African American Heritage Studies in Maryland, District of Columbia, and Virginia; Negro Motorist Green Book; Poor People’s Campaign 1968; Black History Month Commemorations in Montgomery County; Black Religious History; History of the Scotland Community; Scotland AME Zion Church; Lincoln Park History Project; Historic Black Communities, Schools and Churches in Montgomery County; Rockville African American Historic Properties; Oral History Resources & Storytelling Toolkits; Oral Histories with Prominent Individuals; and Black Baseball Teams in Montgomery County.
The committee will also make these materials available to the Episcopal Diocese of Washington’s Equity and Justice Ministry, so that this information may be shared with other churches in our diocese.
For more information about all festival events from June 17-19, please go to the following link: https://www.juneteenthscotland.org/schedule. You may also view festival chairperson – and fifth-generation resident of Scotland – LaTisha Gasaway-Paul’s “Juneteenth: Celebrating Past and Present” video presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=od5OlsZKjqg.
We hope to see many parishioners from St. John’s at the festival! It will certainly be a wonderful way to learn about this special community and help in a worthy cause.