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Crownsville Memorial Park Public Hearing Letter

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Access PDF Version Here ->>

Written Letter of Support for the Recommendations by “Crownsville Caretakers United”
The American Descendants of Slavery Advocacy Foundation (ADOSAF) is a national grassroots
advocacy organization with statewide Chapters across the nation. Its mission is to secure lineage-
based reparations for descendants of U.S. chattel slavery from the federal government and to
advocate for a transformative Black agenda.<sup>i</sup> The ADOSAF – Maryland Chapter writes this
letter in support of the recommendations by the “Crownsville Caretakers United,” a collective of
former Black patients who are mostly American descendants of slavery (ADOS), their
descendants, and the mostly Black ADOS staff for the use of the 500-acre+ land at Crownsville,
the former segregated, mental health “Hospital for the Negro Insane of Maryland.”

Crownsville Memorial Park – Public Hearings
The book by Antonia Hylton, “Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim Crow Asylum,” highlighted
the atrocities and brutality endured by Black (mostly ADOS)ii people who were detained at the
facility from 1910-2004. This book was revelatory for the State of Maryland and the nation. It
underscores the persistent injustices and abuses that ADOS people have suffered for generations without redress and visibility.

As Anne Arundel County pushes forward in its process to develop a master plan for the
Crownsville Memorial Park, “a place of healing for all,” as voiced by County Executive Steuart
Pittman in December 2023 regarding the use of the 500+ acre property, what is glaringly absent
is centering and uplifting the voices of those who suffered the grave injustices that occurred at
the hands of white Crownsville medical staff, Anne Arundel County, and the State of Maryland.
The public hearings, developed for “community” input, have been identified by Anne Arundel
County as part of the process for development of the master plan.

During these hearings, the voices of those impacted by the County/State-sanctioned Crownsville abuse are overshadowed by the blaring voices of environmental groups, animal, and bicycle enthusiasts who fail to take a second seat to the group that should be centered – the former Black (mostly ADOS) patients and staff, and the descendants of the patients. While the public hearings give voice to “all” residents of Anne Arundel County, “all” residents were not harmed by the barbarous acts at Crownsville
by employees of Anne Arundel County or the State of Maryland. They nor their family members
were slaved or suffered grievous injury and abuse that ended in death. It was the Black, mostly
ADOS families that were impacted by these callous injustices, that, undoubtedly affected the
economic and social condition of their families for generations.

Consequently, the County Executive’s vision for Crownsville should be anchored in a reparative
justice frame that centers the voices and recommendations of the “Crownsville Caretakers
United.” Without anchoring in a reparative justice framework, Anne Arundel County will
intensify the injustice at Crownsville and continue the legacy of injury afflicted upon ADOS
communities without redress. Therefore, ADOSAF – Maryland Chapter urges Anne Arundel County to center the voices of the “Crownsville Caretakers United” and supports their recommendations.

Sincerely,
ADOSAF – Maryland Chapter
maryland@adosfoundation.org