The Calvert County Department of Economic Development won tops honors for its Lower Marlboro Freedom Day event that commemorated 14 slaves who fled the county during the War of 1812. The 2014 event earned the “Best Small Event” award during Maryland’s 35th Annual Tourism and Travel Summit held Nov. 3 in Ellicott City and sponsored by the Maryland Office on Tourism and the Maryland Tourism Coalition.
Researched and organized by Calvert County Historic Preservation Planner Kirsti Uunila, the day-long event explored the story of the men and women who left slavery, boarding British boats in the Patuxent River in the summer of 1814, and their struggle to decide “whether to stay or go.” Their stories were told through walking tours around the town of Lower Marlboro, living history storytellers, musical performances, displays, photographs and presentations.
“It took a number of partnerships to pull the event off,” explained Uunila, pointing to the contributions made by the Calvert County Chapter of the NAACP, the Calvert County Historical Society, Preservation Maryland, the Calvert County Historic District Commission, Bayside History Museum, Mt. Harmony-Lower Marlboro United Methodist Church and the Maryland State Archives.
“It was great to work with our community partners to first research, and then creatively share, our county’s rich history and involvement in the War of 1812,” she added. “This award goes to all of us.”