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Josiah Henson Park Featured on PBS

Posted on by Lindsay Hoffman

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Josiah Henson Special Park is an up-and-coming gem in the Montgomery Parks system.  Located just outside of the White Flint sector boundary, on the western side of Old Georgetown Road, its programming will tie to Wall Park.  Now, the Park is receiving national attention.  See the below from a recent press release from Montgomery Parks:

MONTGOMERY PARKS’ JOSIAH HENSON PARK WILL BE PROFILED ON NATIONAL BROADCAST OF PBS SERIES TIME TEAM AMERICA ON AUGUST 19; PROGRAM UNCOVERS NEW EVIDENCE RELATED TO THE SITE’S HISTORY 

SILVER SPRING, MD—Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and theMontgomery Parks Foundation announce the premiere of “TIME TEAM AMERICA, The Search for Josiah Henson,” on Tuesday, August 19 at 8 p.m. TIME TEAM AMERICA is a PBS series that combines archaeological discovery with good story telling. “The Search for Josiah Henson,” one of four new episodes of the second season, explores Josiah Henson Park, a significant historical resource located in Montgomery County, Maryland within the Montgomery Parks system. The park is located on the former Isaac Riley plantation where Reverend Josiah Henson was enslaved for many years before his escape to freedom. Henson’s autobiography is the inspiration behind Harriet Beecher Stowe’s landmark novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Filming of the program took place in August 2012. The TIME TEAM AMERICA production crew and on-air talent—comprised of scientists Joe Watkins, Allan Maca, Meg Watters, Jeff Brown and Chelsea Rose and host Justine Shapiro—spent three days on site working alongside Parks’ archaeologists and their many volunteers, searching for evidence of Henson-era structures and related artifacts long lost to suburban development. The archaeological exploration unearthed three layers of compacted earth flooring in the kitchen under the existing floor, which  indicates the strong likelihood that the existing log kitchen sits on the exact footprint of the one described in Henson’s memoirs.

It was upon his return to Isaac Riley’s plantation in 1828 that Josiah Henson recalls sleeping on the dirt floor of the kitchen in the main house.

“After putting my horse in the stable I retired to the kitchen, where my master told me I was to sleep for the night … that crowded room, with its earth floor, its filth and stench – The negroes present were strangers to me. Full of gloomy reflections at my loneliness, and poverty stricken aspect of the whole farm, I sat down…thinking how I could escape from the accursed spot.”

—Josiah Henson, The Life of Josiah Henson Formerly a Slave,  Boston: 1849

The Montgomery Parks Foundation will conduct a major campaign to raise $2 million dollars to support the educational and interpretive aspects for Josiah Henson Park.  These funds will be matched by $4.85 million approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board and the County Council for the park’s development.

The Time Team America episode on Josiah Henson Park can be previewed at: http://video.pbs.org/video/2365243972/

About the Montgomery Parks Foundation
The Montgomery Parks Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that champions Montgomery County Parks cultivating financial support and public engagement of county residents and businesses as members, donors, sponsors and advocates.  Visitwww.MontgomeryParksFoundation.org to learn more.

About the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks
Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other park systems. www.MontgomeryParks.org

 

One Response to Josiah Henson Park Featured on PBS

Christiana Drapkin says: July 17, 2014 at 9:20 am

Wow, living history right under my nose. I had no idea.
Thank you for highlighting this historic site.