As Marable and the three storytellers performed a traditional African libation ceremony, pouring water on a tree they intoned: "Let's honor the gifts we have received from our ancestors by giving to our descendants."

The Boys Choir of Powhatan led the singing of "Lift Every Voice and Sing," and followed that up with several Gospel songs.

The choir of boys in grades 2 through 12 is based at Woodlawn Elementary School, where their director, JoeAnn Oatis, teaches. They perform once a month for church groups, veterans groups and senior residences. Next spring, they will tour New England, with performances scheduled at Harvard University, the John F. Kennedy Library and several Boston schools.

The color guard, the JROTC Marines of Milford Mill Academy, was late — but with good reason. They were trying to make it to 10 different presentations on Veterans Day weekend.

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Madeline Terrell changed her schedule to attend the celebration.

The former Catonsville resident and her husband decided to come to the celebration on their way back to their home in West Virginia. They made a day of it, visiting the reproduction cabin, touring the museum and finishing with the party.

"I really enjoyed myself," Terrell said.

Shirley and Jeff Supik came to celebrate, too.

They are caretakers for a different part of African-American history as the owners of the only documented residential safe house in Baltimore County. The Supiks live in a house behind the historic Emmart Pierpont house on Rolling Road. Built in 1791, the house sheltered runaway slaves for many years and the Supiks often give presentations about the Underground Railroad at the house, including an annual presentation on Harriet Tubman.

"It's a privilege to have a piece of history that is so touching and so significant in a time when people should not have been trusting each other — yet they came together to take care of each other," Shirley Supik said.