Healing Through History: Shackles to Scholars

1,200 Students | 250 pieces of art | 91 Classrooms | 10 Counties | 3 States

Collaborating in honor of the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Storer College

The “Healing Through History: Shackles to Scholars” project, explores the importance of Harpers Ferry in African American history through vibrant works of student-created art. The project is the largest educational project JTHG has launched to date with 1,200 students from 1st through 12th grades, in 91 classrooms, in three states working together to produce 250 pieces of art.

stone sculpture of martin luther king

This project was a collaboration between the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, the International Fiber Collaborative (IFC) and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

Within a 10-year period in the 1850s and 1860s, Harpers Ferry, at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, went from the era of slavery to abolitionist John Brown’s raid on the armory, to significant Civil War battles, to the end of slavery, and finally to the establishment of Storer College in 1867.

Historical materials were provided to students by Harpers Ferry Historical Park Chief Historian Dennis Frye, whose idea spawned the project. “History often is expressed best through art. Colorful imagery and creative contemplation are much more powerful than memorized dates.”

The schools were chosen for their proximity to Harpers Ferry. Schools were located in Jefferson and Berkeley counties in West Virginia, Washington, Frederick, Montgomery and Carroll counties in Maryland, and Frederick, Loudoun, and Prince William counties in Virginia.