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Tolson's Chapel rededicated on 150th anniversary of Emancipation Proclamation

Sharpsburg chapel originally built by emancipated former slaves

September 25, 2012

SHARPSBURG — Tolson’s Chapel in Sharpsburg hosted a rededication ceremony over the weekend, on the 150th anniversary of the release of the Emancipation Proclamation.

The ceremony was attended by Robert Stanton, the senior adviser to the Secretary of the Interior and former director of the National Park Service.

Stanton was the event’s keynote speaker.

The historic chapel was originally built by emancipated former slaves and opened in 1866. The chapel has been repaired through donated funds, and some state grants.

The chapel also served as a Freedmen’s Bureau school funded by the local African-American community.

The chapel had been closed, and had fallen in disrepair for a number of years, until undergoing renovations organized by the nonprofit Friends of Tolson’s Chapel.

Speakers at the event included Edie Wallace, the president of the Friends of Tolson’s Chapel, Susan Trail, Antietam National Battlefield superintendent, and Maryland Sen. Christopher Shank.

Jenny Avila performed her new song, “Tolson’s Chapel,” and the Asbury AME choir performed.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau has assisted the Friends of Tolson’s Chapel project with marketing  and Internet funding.

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