February 21, 2024

Sacred Journey Nov. 4 Honoring Enslaved Peoples

The St. Mary’s College of Maryland community will come together on Nov. 4, 2022, at 4:30 p.m. for The Sacred Journey: The Beloved Community, an event to honor the second anniversary of the award-winning Commemorative to Enslaved Peoples of Southern Maryland. The event will be marked by choral and instrumental music, spoken word performance, a Procession of Dignity from the Commemorative to the College’s Waterfront, a reading of names of the enslaved, and a libation ceremony.  Remarks will also be provided by St. Mary’s College of Maryland President Tuajuanda C. Jordan, and William “BJ” R. Hall III, president of the St. Mary’s County chapter of the NAACP.

“When we conceived and built the Commemorative to Enslaved Peoples of Southern Maryland, we intended it to be a living monument to give a voice to those who had been silenced throughout our history,” said President Jordan. “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.”

Participants will assemble at the Commemorative at 4:30 p.m. Choral selections by the SMCM Chamber Singers will be interspersed with remarks from Presidents Jordan and Hall and a student-led spoken word performance of “erasure poetry” from the Commemorative.

At approximately 4:50 p.m., participants will walk to the College Waterfront, accompanied by student percussionists and musicians. Along the procession route, signage will pose reflective questions or highlight historical elements relating to the history of slavery on the lands now occupied by the College.

At approximately 5:20 p.m., participants will arrive at the Waterfront to a choral selection by Southern Maryland Community Mass Choir. Students will perform a solemn reading of the names of the enslaved – over 120 individuals, some known only by a single name or even no name at all, who lived on or near the campus grounds. Another choral selection will accompany the lighting of candles by participants followed by student-led libation ceremony to conclude the program.

This year’s theme, “The Beloved Community,” is based on the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for a community of diverse peoples living in solidarity, justice, and love.Transportation will be provided by golf cart for those unable to participate in the walk. In the event of inclement weather, the entire event will be held in the Nancy R. & Norton T. Dodge Performing Arts Center. Persons attending the ceremony are requested to enter campus via Mattapany Road and follow signs to designated parking areas.


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