The Maryland Museum of Women’s History has announced that it will be changing the name of its foundation after discovering its former namesake’s pro-slavery beliefs.
The foundation was originally named after Mary Edwardine Bourke Emory, an Eastern Shore woman who wrote about the history of the area. According to a statement from the museum on Facebook, Emory’s work consisted largely of “tedious genealogies of various Eastern Shore families,” but also included a section devoted to the “Values and Blessings” of slavery. The museum also writes that Emory also fabricated a story involving an enslaved person “Pif,” which was meant to be deliberately demeaning.
The museum discovered her pro-slavery writings after ten months of working on its first exhibit, “Enslavement to Emancipation: Voices Not Heard.” Mary Margaret Revell Goodwin, the museum’s president and CEO, told Bay Times and Record Observer, “we cannot take and accept her name. We have to divest ourselves completely of that.”
The museum has now registered under the name The Maryland Museum of Women’s History.
The Maryland Museum of Women’s History is located in Centreville, Maryland. It has not yet opened to the public.