It was a beautiful day in Montgomery County, Maryland as people gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the freeing of Maryland's slaves, on 1 November 1864.
Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which was announced after the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam), Maryland, did not free those slaves that were in territories or states not in rebellion. Since Maryland did not seceed or withdraw from these United States, Maryland was not in rebellion. It was up to the Marland Legislature to pass a law freeing the slaves within her borders. That law became effective on 1 November 1864.
Kent Courtney made a personal appearance at this event in the same garb that he wore for the History Channel's documentary Stealing Lincoln's Body. In this documentary, Kent Courtney portrayed Terrence Mullens, one of the conspirators who tried to remove Lincoln's casket from the Mauseleum in Springfield, Illinois and hold Lincoln's body for ransom in 1876.
Stealing Lincoln's Body is scheduled to be shown on the History Channel in February, 2009 as part of the Bicentennial commemoration of Abraham Lincoln's birth. Kent Courtney has been on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good Morning America and appears frequently on the History Channel, PBS, A&E, The Discovery Channel, The Travel Channel, The Learning Channel and many others.
Kent Courtney is also author of Returning to the Civil War, Grand Reenactments of an Anguished Time, and a nationally recognized authority on the Civil War, with reviews and regular advertising published in Smoke & Fire News, Camp Chase Gazette, Citizens' Companion, Civil War News, Southern Living, and other magazines and newspapers throughout the country. The Ozarks Mountaineer said "This is altogether a fascinating book."
Schroeder Cherry, an amazing puppeteer, had a wonderful presentation of his craft with his show on the Underground Railroad, creatively entitled: Underground Railroad, Not a Subway. His puppets were very believable and delighted the audience which included all ages.
William Evans directed the Sherwood High School Chamber Singers with songs like Hold Out Your Light, Stand by Me and even joined in with Kent Courtney in singing John Brown's Body, Battle Hymn of the Republic and I'm On My Way to Freedom Land.
Maryland State Delegate Herman L. Taylor, Jr. read the original Marland Emancipation Announcement and the Keynote Address was delivered by Faith Davis Ruffins from the National Museum of American History, Behring Center.
Nina Clarke read a prayer that was a reflection of the sentiment surrounding our country's struggles for freedom.
Mary Bradford, Director of Parks was the Master of Ceremonies, and reminded everyone of the importance of our heritage and of the Oakley Cabin African American Museum and Park.
The Slideshow, below, has photographs of the Maryland Emancipation Day activites at Oakley Cabin, taken by Kent Courtney.