Past Events - McDonogh Voices - McDonogh School

Past Events

2022-2023 Sessions

Small Group Sessions on Campus

The Campus as a Classroom: a unique campus tour highlighting special places

Multiple dates in September
Led by Jon Aaron ’72, Director of Special Projects

The dedication of The Memorial to Those Enslaved and Freed on April 19, 2022, created a poignant triangle between three campus locations that also include the John McDonogh Monument and Childs Memorial Terrace. What is the significance of these spaces and how do they fit into the School’s history?

During a series of 90-minute, small group sessions in September 2022, staff member and storyteller Jon Aaron ’72 took participants for an engaging tour of campus, sharing the background of each location and offering insight into how McDonogh School’s rituals and values have evolved over the past 150 years. 

2021-2022 Sessions

Dance Performance by Nile Russell ’00

Using historical research as inspiration, Nile Russell ’00 and his collaborators, Naana Badu '00 and Jenn Ford '00, composed and performed a dance piece that explores several complementary concepts and themes. His work highlights the dichotomy and complexity of McDonogh (the person and the School), the importance of creating greatness in difficult times, and a forward vision of the McDonogh community’s future. Nile served in residency at McDonogh for two weeks in order to teach and incorporate the talents of McDonogh’s theatre, dance, and gospel choir students in this performance.

Watch the performance from April 29.

Session I: History and the Inclusion of New Voices


Nadine Knight ’95, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at College of the Holy Cross; Jessica Levy ’04, Assistant Professor of History at Purchase College, SUNY; and Upper School history teacher John Wood provided an overview of how history is understood and communicated and how various institutions and their disciplines have evolved in their understanding of the stories they tell about people who have been overlooked.

View the recording from Thursday, November 18.


Historians Ken Lipartito, Ph.D., professor of history at Florida International University and President of Business History Group, along with Patricia A. Watson, Ph.D., Vice President of Business History Group, are researching and writing a narrative history to commemorate the 150th anniversary of McDonogh School (which will take place during the 2023-2024 school year).

During the second session, the speakers discussed slavery and the slave trade in the United States, Baltimore, and New Orleans as well as John McDonogh's association with it. They also explained how other institutions with connections to slavery have analyzed and expressed their own pasts.

View the recording from Wednesday, March 2. 

Gallery Exhibit Featuring Artist Akea Brionne

Artist Akea Brionne is a photographer, writer, curator, and researcher whose personal work investigates the implications of historical racial and social structures in relation to the development of contemporary black life and identity within America.  A collection of Akea’s photographs was displayed in the Tuttle Gallery from November 15 through December 15.

Session III: The Memorial to Those Enslaved and Freed

Planning for a memorial to recognize and honor the enslaved peoples of John McDonogh has been in the works for nearly two decades. The journey began with the work of a passionate group of current and retired faculty, staff—including retired Art Department Chair Oletha DeVane—and Board members who brought light to the importance of doing justice to the memory of people whose labor contributed to the wealth that was the basis of our School’s founding. The memorial will honor the enslaved people and be used as a foundation for educating students more fully about this period in history. During this session, lead artist Oletha DeVane and artistic historical consultants Dr. Leslie King-Hammond and Dr. Lowery Sims discussed the evolution and meaning behind The Memorial to Those Enslaved and Freed.  

 View the recording from the March 22 session.