17th Annual “Say My Name” Ceremony to Take Place This Saturday

April 27, 2022

Learn more below about the moving “Say My Name” Ceremony taking place this weekend during the Scenic Rivers Land Trust’s annual Walk for the Woods. This event offers a rare occasion to honor those buried at the Crownsville Patient Cemetery and to acknowledge the dedication of those involved in preserving and documenting a crucial part of Anne Arundel County’s past.

The “Say My Name” Ceremony in Remembrance of the Institutionalized Patients Buried at the former Crownsville State Hospital for the Negro Insane.

Saturday, April 30 10:00 AM and 12 Noon at the Crownsville State Hospital Patient Cemetery, Bacon Ridge will mark the 17th annual “Say My Name” Ceremony during the 17th Annual “Walk for Woods”(SRLT)

Sponsored by The Friends of the Crownsville Patient Cemetery, this annual program honors those who lived, died, and were buried on the State Hospital Cemetery; most with only a number to mark their graves stones.

This year’s ceremony is of special significance because after years of research, volunteers have found and documented the names of nearly 1,700 African American patients buried on this property. The hospital founded in 1911 as the Maryland Hospital for the Negro Insane was closed in 2004. Burials ceased in Crownsville Patient Cemetery in 1968.

There will be a Special Announcements about the planned “Say My Name” Memorial Wall to memorialize and display names of all patients buried there.  Funding for the monument is provided, by Anne Arundel County State Delegation Bond Initiative during the 2022 General Assembly sponsored by Senator Edward Reilly and, Delegate Heather Bagnall, to the Friends of the Crownsville Patient Cemetery.

In a different initiative, the State of Maryland, as committed $30.5 million dollars for the rehabilitation of the Crownsville property and the property transfer from the State to Anne Arundel County Government is anticipated in the next few months. 

Speakers: Delegate Adrienne Jones, Speaker of the House, Senator Sarah Elfreth, Delegate Heather Bagnall, Delegate Shaneka Henson, County Executive Steuart Pittman, Councilwoman Lisa Rodvien, Caucus of African American Leaders, Carl Snowden, AACO Recreation and Parks Director Jessica Leys.

The Original “Say My Name” Song – Written and Performed by Scotti Preston, Co-Founder of the Friends of the Crownsville Cemetery.

GPS Directions: Marbury Drive, Crownsville, MD – Once there follow the signs

Contact : Janice Hayes-Williams, Founder of the Friends of the Crownsville Cemetery 

Phone Number: 443-854-1315  Email: [email protected]

Alternative: Beryl Downs, Phone Number:410-349-7693

Facebook: https://www/facebook.com/Friends-of-the-Crownsville-Patient -Cemetery-399431097099254 


After the closing of the Crownsville Hospital Center 2004:

Janice Hayes-Williams, Annapolis native convinced her best friend of 50+ years Scotti Preston, also a Annapolis native to join her and to care for a cemetery that not only intrigued them, it called for somebody or persons to find their names and, to give them dignity and death not afforded in life at the Hospital.

Janice took the lead and called on volunteers to do the deed of combing the Maryland State Archives and find their names. Scotti continued to join her for every year and they were joined by the community to say their names and Scotti Preston, actress, singer, sang to those buried there and continues to do so.