During the week of September 13, Salem began the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the school’s founding with historical presentations sponsored by the Anna Maria Samuel Project: Race, Remembrance, and Reconciliation at Salem Academy and College. The week’s programs were organized by Jessi Bowman C’18 and Shayla Herndon-Edmunds, consultant for diversity, equity and inclusion at the Academy and College.
Separate events were held for Academy and College students early in the week to unveil the new historical markers on campus. Dr. Amy Rio led a reflection for College students on Monday evening.
The public events began in Shirley Recital Hall with Wednesday night’s historic presentation by Martha Hartley, Director of Moravian Research and co-chair of the Hidden Town Project at Old Salem Museums and Gardens. She was joined by a community panel comprised of members of the Anna Maria Samuel Project. Fifty people attended in person while over 60 watched the live stream.
On Friday afternoon, the campus welcomed 75 people to tour the new historical markers that tell the story of African Americans, who were enslaved by Salem Academy and College before 1865, and those who continued to work at the school into the 20th century. The markers are located in front of the Inspector’s House, South Residence Hall, and Bahnson Residence Hall. The day ended with a ceremony at St. Philips Moravian Church where Jeannie White gave a moving rendition of Lift Every Voice and Sing.
In addition, visitors to campus were invited to explore the Single Sisters Museum, which officially reopened this fall with new exhibits. The expansion of the museum was spearheaded by committee co-chairs, Gwynne Taylor C’72 and Paula Locklair. Carrie Leigh Dickey C’00 designed the exhibits. The new material reflects what has been learned through the research of Anna McCoy Smith C’98 and Jessi Bowman about the Cherokee Moravian students of the 19th century as well as the enslaved students and workers who were part of Salem in the 18th and 19th centuries. The museum is open to the public and is free. The hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
For more information on the continuing historical work at Salem Academy and College, please visit The Anna Maria Samuel Project website.
Michelle Hopkins Lawrence
Co-chair of The Anna Maria Samuel Project: Race, Remembrance, and Reconciliation at Salem Academy and College
History Department Salem Academy