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Headstones and History:

Black Lives Matter(ed)

Tucked away behind some apartment buildings on a dead-end street is a cemetery that holds hidden information about the story of Black Georgetown. For nearly 300 years, African Americans were an important force in Georgetown. They were physicians, chefs, real estate tycoons, draymen, business owners, artisans, coachmen, and laborers. Their community in Georgetown was a cocoon where they raised families, played, laughed, grieved, and loved – even as they helped escaping slaves, became the first African American voters in US history, and fueled Georgetown’s growth with their labor and wit. Their contributions and stories have largely been ignored, forgotten, covered up. It is time to fix that, and it starts in the Mt. Zion Cemetery.

Some 8000 African Americans from Georgetown and the surrounding region were buried in the Mount Zion Cemetery from the early 19th to the mid 20th century. Those interred show the economic diversity of the community. Using their names and dates of death, we will use genealogical research and primary documents to learn about their lives and to celebrate them. No one has conducted this critical research from this perspective. Our students will be discovering and making history at the same time: they will be Citizen Historians, participating in ambitious and exhilarating crowdsourced research.

Our results will be donated to the Mount Zion - Female Union Band Society Foundation, which is in the process of transforming this forgotten corner of Georgetown into a memorial park to honor the memories and celebrate the lives of the interred.

Student work product could include the following:

Headstones and History:

Course Schedule

Opening Session in the Mt. Zion FUBS Cemetery

June 22, 2021

Virtual Session

June 24, 2021

Walking Tour of Georgetown

June 29, 2021

Virtual Session

July 1, 2021

Walking Tour of Georgetown

July 6, 2021

Virtual Session

July 8, 2021

Virtual Session

July 13, 2021

Final Session and Presentation in the Mt. Zion FUBS Cemetery

July 15, 2021

Headstones and History:

Tours of Georgetown & Facilitated Discussions

Tours of Georgetown

Facilitated Discussions

Headstones and History:

Lead Faculty and Researchers

Garrett Lowe, Ph.D.

Garrett Lowe began tutoring in 2000 while slogging through his dissertation and has been at it ever since. He has over 15,000 hours of helping students prepare for college entrance exams as well as a variety of Advanced Placement exams.

A native Washingtonian, Garrett attended St. Albans School and St. Marks School in Massachusetts, before receiving his BA from the University of Pennsylvania. Later, he earned an MA in Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto (14th century literature) and then a PhD in Biology from the University of Maryland (bird migration) – a group of fascinating but highly impractical areas of study. Continuing this pattern of intellectual meandering, Garrett is currently interested in the history of Massachusetts Bay Colony as well as the culture of the 1920s.


Tom Duckenfield was born in 1964 at historic Freedmen’s Hospital, established a century earlier in Washington, DC by the Medical Division of the Freedmen’s Bureau to provide care to former enslaved persons freed following the Civil War. His maternal and paternal roots are firmly entrenched in the Commonwealth of Virginia, including Westmoreland County, Richmond County, Northumberland County, Caroline County, Hanover County, Greensville County, and Richmond City. Through his mother, Evelyn Newman Duckenfield, he is both a double-descendant of the Thompson and Newman families of Westmoreland County, manumitted in 1791 by Councillor Robert Carter III’s Deed of Gift, as well as a descendant of James McCoy, a Westmoreland County Free Black Patriot of the American Revolutionary War. Through his late father, Thomas A. Duckenfield, Sr., he is a descendant of Free Black indentured servant Penelope Pugh (b. 1748, Bertie, NC) and Sir Nathaniel Duckenfield, Jr. (b. 1746, Cheshire, England), a British Loyalist during the American Revolutionary War and 5th Baron of Dukinfield, England.

Tom is the CEO of TDB Communications, Inc. Previously, he was a partner in several law firms in the areas of corporate finance, commercial transactions, renewable energy, government contracts, and international trade. He served in the U.S. Army as an infantry lieutenant, captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and Assistant to the Army General Counsel in the Pentagon. Tom attended St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School in Washington, DC from 1971 to 1973; graduated in 1982 cum laude from St. Albans School in Washington, DC; received an A.B degree in History, cum laude, from Princeton University in 1986; a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School in 1989; and received an England & Wales Solicitor Qualification through the Oxford Institute for Legal Studies in 2011.

Headstones and History:

Historical Context & Key Primary Sources

Historical Context

Key Primary Sources:

Take Headstones and History: (Black Lives Matter(ed))

In 4 Simple Steps

Eagle Eye Tutoring has made it easy for you to take the Headstones and History: Black Lives Matter(ed)



Sign Up using the link provided.



You will receive an email confirmation with class information.



For virtual sessions, you will receive an email with Zoom information.



Complete your Headstones and History course with our master tutor Garrett Lowe, Ph.D.


Why Choose Eagle Eye Tutoring?

"We have been developing the concept of using the cemetery property to provide research and inspiration for young people because it’s important to uncover the truth in order to have a better understanding of the present. The virtual/in-person Headstones & History - hybrid class has allowed us to maintain safety protocols and hopefully create a standard for how historic Black cemeteries can be utilized to bring history to life and provide context to the classroom."
Lisa Fager, Executive Director
Mt. Zion-Female Union Band Society Historic Memorial Park, Inc.

*Depending on school requirements, students' participation in the course and their time spent conducting research can fulfill service hours.

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