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In Their Own Voices
  • February 26, 2020
  • Thurmont Regional Library
  • 76 E. Moser Road, Thurmont, MD 21788
  • 443-629-8661
  • 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  • Free but reservations recommended

    In commemoration of Black History Month, students from Silver Oak Academy will present scenes from “Spirits of the Furnace” and serve food prepared from traditional recipes.  The event is free and open to the public. For a little over half a century, black enslaved workers comprised a substantial part of the workforce at Catoctin Furnace. These workers were involved in every aspect of life in the village: some worked in the ironmaster’s manor house, some worked in the vineyards and fields of the furnace owners’ farms, and many worked in the furnace as miners, blacksmiths, colliers, founders, and forgeman.  By the second quarter of the nineteenth century, it became more economical to hire free labor than to maintain a slave population, and, by the time of the Civil War, the number of enslaved workers in the village had declined sharply. Actors from Silver Oak Academy will portray young workers and servants in vignettes based on actual events in the village. The enslaved butler at the ironmaster’s mansion will discuss preparations for the meal and describe his job in the ‘big house,’ which includes overseeing wine pairings and proper table settings and service.  A furnace worker will talk about digging a grave for a friend killed in an industrial accident. A parishioner will talk about the newly-built Harriet Chapel and its meaning for the village. A reading of the names of all slaves known to have worked at Catoctin Furnace will complete the program. Lunch prepared by the Silver Oak Academy culinary arts students will follow and will featuring foods made from local recipes such as collard greens with ham and potatoes, iced tea, and sweet potato pie. Free but RSVP requested.