Reaching Our Community
During the month of February, MoCoLMP’s photo exhibit, “It Happened in Rockville: Remembering Two Lynchings,” was displayed at the Wheaton Library. Along with the exhibit, we distributed literature to library patrons and invited them to join our work. Among the comments in our guest book:
“I'm so honored to live in a community that's facing history and ourselves by including the silenced stories of our oppressed brothers and sisters. Thank you for the hard work that has gone into this project and for your courage and determination to do what's right.”
”A great nation never hides its history.”
”We need to remember, to be educated, to reconcile, to carry justice and equality forward.”
”Thank you so much for your love in creating this display. We must know our history to protect our community. Hate has no place in our MoCo!”
MoCoLMP started a book club featuring works about Black history and literature in Montgomery County and beyond. The interesting selections included Barracoon, by Zora Neale Hurston; How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America, by Clint Smith; and, Behold a Ball of Light and Light in Dark Places, by MoCoLMP member Marcia E. Cole. The book club meets monthly over Zoom and continues to grow.
In celebration of Juneteenth, MoCoLMP members staffed information tables at two events. The larger multi-day event took place in Rockville and was a fundraiser for the historic Black community of Scotland. The town of Kensington also held a celebration where we talked with community members and elected officials about our work.
In October, MoCoLMP members attended the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project’s annual conference at Goucher College in Baltimore. We enjoyed the opportunity to exchange ideas with other projects from throughout the state. MoCoLMP steering committee member Derrick Tabor represented us (top photo), as one of four county coalitions in Maryland invited to present. Other speakers included Lynching Sites Project-Memphis,
Clint Smith and A.J. Verdelle
the National Center for Human and Civil Rights in Atlanta, and the Arkansas Peace and Justice Memorial Movement. A highlight of the conference was a conversation between acclaimed poet and author Clint Smith and A.J. Verdelle, who teaches writing at Morgan State and Lesley Universities.
Teaching the Teachers
In November, MoCoLMP Education Committee chairs Lesley Younge and Caitlin Atkins presented their work, ”Truth First: Remembrance and Reconciliation in the English Classroom,” at the Conference on English Leadership, part of the annual meeting of the National Convention of Teachers of English.
The presentation introduced the concept of community remembrance work with a focus on the groundbreaking efforts in Maryland by MoCoLMP alongside government and community leaders. They also guided attendees through a sample student lesson, during which they wrote poetry using historic newspaper articles about lynchings.