The African and African Diaspora Studies program at St. Mary’s College of Maryland will host its first annual fall symposium “From Slavery to Freedom: The Struggle for Civic Virtue at St. Mary’s and Beyond” on Friday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 23 at 9 a.m. in the Blackistone Room of Anne Arundel Hall. The event is free of charge and open to the public but pre-registration is required. Visit https://www.smcm.edu/africandiaspora/events/.
“From Slavery to Freedom: The Struggle for Civic Virtue at St. Mary’s and Beyond” will give special attention to recently discovered evidence that St. Mary’s Female Seminary owned slaves during the nineteenth century. The symposium will also examine practices designed to memorialize slavery on American college campuses. In addition, scholars will explore the history of slavery in St. Mary’s County, Southern Maryland and other parts of Maryland.
Friday, September 22
The symposium’s evening program will take place from 7 – 8:30 p.m. in the College’s Blackistone Room. The program will feature a roundtable discussion with visiting panelists from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, James Madison’s Montpelier, Georgetown University, and the College of William and Mary.
Saturday, September 23
The symposium continues on Saturday, in the College’s Daugherty-Palmer Commons. It will consist of four moderated panels, held from 9 – 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 1:15 – 2:45 p.m., and 3:15 – 4:45 p.m. The panels will feature the College’s African and African Diaspora Studies program faculty members, along with additional College faculty and scholars from Historic St. Mary’s City, Sotterley Plantation, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
The symposium’s final event is a lecture and concert, “Liberation: The Spirit of Jazz & Democracy,” September 23, 5 p.m., in Auerbach Auditorium, St. Mary’s Hall. Drummer and music historian Dominic Fragman and philosopher Sybol Anderson tell the story of enslaved people in St. Mary’s County who self-emancipated during the War of 1812. Fragman and Anderson illuminate connections between those self-emancipators, later African Americans’ self-liberation through jazz improvisation, and how Americans today use improvisation to expand freedom and promote democracy. Master musicians Paul Murphy (drums) and Larry Willis (piano) perform a rare, totally improvised concert featuring guest performances by Fragman and poet Jere Carroll.
Hotel accommodations are available at Home2Suites, Lexington Park, Md. for $89.00/night and at the Brome Howard Inn, St. Mary’s City, Md. for $102.00/night. Callers should mention the African and African Diaspora Studies Symposium at St. Mary’s College to receive the discounted rate.