In 1865, African Americans in South Carolina gathered to pay tribute to Union soldiers buried in a mass grave. Their determination to honor their dead became the first very commemoration of what we now know as Memorial Day. Join us for a panel exploring the history of Memorial Day.
Author Leah Henderson will discuss her research and children’s book, “A Day for Rememberin’,” which tells the story of the first Memorial Day originated by former enslaved Blacks from Charleston, SC. Then we will travel to Maryland to learn about Ellsworth Cemetery, a historic African American cemetery in Carroll County founded by African American Civil War soldiers. Find out about the preservation work to restore graves led by Tom Greul (Knights of Columbus) and researcher Diane Boettcher. The short film, The 30th of May, produced by filmmaker James Theres explores how Black citizens from Natchez, Mississippi and Vidalia, Louisiana have kept the tradition of honoring Black military service since the Civil War to today.