CATOCTIN FURNACE, Md., Sept. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- With generous support from Maryland Humanities, the Catoctin Furnace Historical Society is pleased to present Braided Lives: Troublin de Water: Catoctin Furnace's Enslaved through Poetry, Song, & Narrative. Braided Lives is an original, historically based multi-part presentation of video and live program crafted by Halo Quartet, Elayne Bond Hyman, and CFHS. It includes multiple distinct "scenes" that weave together the humanities disciplines of poetry, evocative songs, and archival documents to engage participants in exploring the human and lived experience of being enslaved as well as raise important questions about the legacy of slavery and the injustices faced by African Americans today. A series of history-infused call and response exchanges between the poetry of Ms. Bond Hyman, author of Catoctin SlaveSpeak, vocal responses of powerful and evocative works such as Abel Meeropol's Strange Fruit and Louis Armstrong's What Did I Do to Be So Black and Blue by Halo Quartet (an all-female African American barbershop quartet), and historical documentary and archaeological research data provided by CFHS, will inform and share the lived experience of enslaved African ironworkers at Catoctin Furnace.

The three elements of this program—poetry, song, and narrative will be woven together to create a unique experience that will resonate far beyond the geographic boundaries of Western Maryland and help reclaim connections and identity through these mediums. Ms. Oshira of Halo described the program thus, "the poems will provide a call for the listener to heed the stories, and the songs will affirm those stories, giving voice to lives lost and forgotten utilizing information and data to inform this artistry."

The filmed aspect of this hybrid program was produced during the summer of 2021 and will be premiered at the 2021 Maryland Iron Festival on September 19, 2021 at 1pm in the churchyard of historic Harriet Chapel, a ca. 1832 stone structure built utilizing enslaved labor (12625 Catoctin Furnace Road, Thurmont, MD 21788). The village of Catoctin Furnace is a fraught landscape through which the enslaved persons of Catoctin Furnace were born, lived, worked, died, and were buried. The screening will take place in conjunction with a live, interactive program featuring HALO and Ms. Bond Hyman. The program is free, but proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 48 hours is required to this semi-enclosed venue.

About Maryland Humanities

Maryland Humanities is a statewide, educational, nonprofit organization. Maryland Humanities creates and supports educational experiences in the humanities that inspire all Marylanders to embrace lifelong learning, exchange ideas openly, and enrich their communities. For more information, visit Maryland Humanities is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the State of Maryland, and the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund, creator of the Baker Artist Awards.

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This project was made possible by a grant from Maryland Humanities, with funding received from the Maryland Historical Trust in the Maryland Department of Planning. Maryland Humanities' Grants Program is also supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and private funders. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of Maryland Humanities, Maryland Historical Trust, Maryland Department of Planning, or National Endowment for the Humanities.

Media Contact

Theresa L. Donnelly, The Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, Inc., (443) 629-8661,


SOURCE The Catoctin Furnace Historical Society, Inc.

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