Morgan State’s exhibit honors black servicemen and women

Morgan State University (MSU) hosted the opening exhibition of “In Freedom’s Name,” a specially produced mobile installation that commemorates the many contributions of African Americans in Maryland who have served in uniform as early as 1634 through today.

The traveling exhibit, curated by the Maryland Military Historical Society (MDMHS) and Stevenson University’s Department of Public History & Humanities, presents a living storyboard of African-American military history of Marylanders. The exhibit was unveiled at the Morgan’s ROTC Bear Battalion annual military ball and hall of fame induction ceremony on Saturday, March 30 at the University Student Center.

“Often lauded as the African American ‘West Point’ for producing numerous accomplished, high-ranking servicemen and women, Morgan resonated as the inaugural site for the unveiling of ‘In Freedom’s Name,’” said Lt. Col. Willie Rodney, department chair and professor of Military Science at Morgan State University. “We are very honored and privileged to showcase such a comprehensive historical timeline of uniformed Marylanders and that the exhibit’s developers universally selected Morgan to introduce this important collection to the State of Maryland.”

Morgan State University
The Honorable Clarence Davis, Morgan alum (’68 and ’78), Vietnam War veteran, former state delegate and Morgan professor. Photo courtesy of Morgan State University

“In Freedom’s Name” provides onlookers an in-depth visual documentary of Maryland’s hidden figures in uniform. Showcasing profiles and unique passages, the installation is designed to educate and enlighten the stories of black soldiers who have served in various capacities beginning pre-Emancipation through the present.

The exhibit’s modular and expandable design encompasses 38 panels extending approximately 115 feet and stands 6 feet high depicting 63 major stories and 245 images. The showing provides historical context for the accomplishments of African-American Marylanders in each of 12 major eras. The first major exhibit of its kind in

Maryland, it is also among the largest traveling installation produced in the U.S.

L to R: Glenn Johnston, Maryland Military Historical Society and curator of “In Freedom’s Name” exhibit, Lt. Col. (R) Sam Chisolm, President, ROTC Alumni Chapter, and Louis S. Diggs, noted Baltimore historian and Korean War Veteran. Photo courtesy of Morgan State University

“The Maryland Military Historical Society is proud to bring this exhibit to the citizens of Maryland,” said Kerry McIntyre, board of directors for Maryland Military Historical Society. “It fills an important gap in our public history, sharing the stories of African-American Marylanders who served and sacrificed – ordinary people who did extraordinary things when duty called. We hope that all who engage with this exhibit are as inspired as we are by what they did in freedom’s name.”

Following its unveiling and debut at Morgan State, “In Freedom’s Name” will embark on a statewide tour that will include showcases throughout the Baltimore Enoch Pratt Free Library system and other libraries across the Chesapeake region for the next several years.

The design and production of “In Freedom’s Name” was underwritten by the generous in-kind donations from the Baltimore National Heritage Area, the George Rich Family Foundation, and several private donors.

In addition to providing the home for the mobile exhibitions’ kick-off, Morgan is developing a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to complement the physical installation of “In Freedom’s Name.” Designed to streamline interaction and engagement among students and professors alike, the MOOC will provide an experiential touchpoint and digital-based learning tool.

Source: Morgan State University

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