One of the highlights of the Grade 8 Civil Rights Movement Experience was the morning the students spent at the Mt. Zion and Female Union Band Cemetery in Georgetown. In tours led by St. Patrick’s alumni and parents Garrett Lowe and Tom Duckenfield and organized by alumni parent Adelaide Barrett, students learned about the vibrant Black community in historic Georgetown and deepened their understanding of the contributions of both free and enslaved African Americans in the development of this area.
They also learned about the significant ways some of this history has been masked and the steps many citizen-historians are taking to uncover the true stories and sacred spaces of this important history. Some of those steps relate to the cemetery itself, where thousands of these Georgetown residents were buried. After learning how to help carefully restore and repair headstones under the expert direction of Patrick Tisdale, students spent time digging out, weeding around, and cleaning headstones.
The work was incredibly rewarding as words carved in stone, formerly unreadable, became visible again, and stones lodged in dirt were lifted up. Later that afternoon, several of our Grade 8 students shared with their classmates the results of research they had done under the direction of Mr. Lowe, Mr. Duckenfield, and their teachers about particular individuals buried in the cemetery. These pictures speak to the magic of our morning together in Georgetown!