Special Event with Jubilee Voices at Walter Pierce Park (Mt. Pleasant Plains Cemetery)
In this commemoration and name reading ceremony, Jubilee Voices will share songs in honor of the escaped slaves who are buried in the cemetery. Join in for a memorable day in a park filled with history.
The annual “SAYING THEIR NAMES, TELLING THEIR STORIES” event commemorates the 8,000-plus people laid to rest in the 19th century African American and Quaker cemeteries at the site. This year, it will also be a celebration of the National Park Service’s recent naming of the park as a National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site.
“We are especially happy to feature the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices, whose powerful a cappella performances bring to life African American songs of the antebellum and Civil War era,” says Mary Belcher, the community liaison for the Walter Pierce Park Archeology Project.
In addition to music, the program will include remarks by descendants of those who were buried in the cemeteries. Then, reading from separate lists, the names of the 8,428 people buried at the site will be spoken aloud. The Walter Pierce Archaeology Project in 2009-2010 documented these names in extensive death-certificate research at the D.C. Archives. Every so often, the name reading will pause for the telling of brief stories–“she was a school teacher,” “he ran away from slavery to join the Union Army,” or “he worked as a free man in the household of John Quincy Adams”–to bring us all closer to understanding their lives.
Refreshments and great conversation are promised.
In the event of rain, the event will be canceled and re-scheduled at a later date.