Local history delight
I went on the Escape On The Pearl bus tour hosted by Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. Our tour guide was author, Mary Kay Ricks who wrote ESCAPE ON THE PEARL, THE HEROIC BID for FREEDOM on the UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. This is the sobering and exciting story of the largest, organized escape on the underground railroad -- aboard the sailing vessel, The Pearl. This is also the personal story of Mary and Emily Edmonson and their family. The Edmonsons were some of the escapees aboard The Pearl. Mary Kay has done extensive research and has uncovered links to important individuals involved in the escape and several of the oldest African American congregations in Washington and Georgetown. Carter Bowman, archivist of Mt. Zion Church was on the bus as were many other local history experts and buffs. Here are some pictures of the day:
We visited Asbury Methodist Church. Several participants in the Pearl escape were members/founders of this congregation.
at its peak, Franklin and Armfield, a.k.a. the Alexandria Slave Pen, was transporting 1,800 slaves a year to the cotton plantations of Louisiana and Mississippi. for more info on this: www.freedomhouse.org
The Northern Virginia Urban League moved into this house in 1996 and has dedicated the site to Rev. Lewis Henry Bailey, a former slave who was sold through the pen to a family in Texas.
our mentor, Carter Bowman, archivist of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in a quiet moment in the Mt. Zion/Female Union Band Cemetary
Janet Ricks, head of the history committee at Mt. Zion leads us through the Mt. Zion/Female Union Band Cemetary.
Beth Taylor, my bus seat partner, is the Director of Education at James Madison's Montpelier. She's researching Paul Jennings, who was enslaved to President and Mrs. Madison.
Mary Kay Ricks talks about Alfred Pope, one of the escapees on The Pearl and a trustee of Mt. Zion Church. After his adventures on The Pearl, Pope built significant wealth through his rag-picking/waste disposal business. He contributed real estate and finance for the building of Mt. Zion Church. Alfred Pope later married Hannah, one of the slaves of Martha and Thomas Peter, who built Tudor House in Georgetown. See previous post regarding my visit to Tudor House.