Concord’s only active public cemetery, Sleepy Hollow draws visitors from around the world searching out gravesites of famous Concordians. For locals, the landscaped grounds are a place to walk and a final resting spot for people they know. Photos by Anne O’Connor

Friends of Sleepy Hollow honor Concord women’s anti-slavery effort   

By Jennifer Lord Paluzzi
February 16, 2024

There are memorials in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery honoring Concord’s war dead, its plethora of famous authors, the people who shaped American history.  

A story left untold, however, was that of the women of the Concord Female Anti-Slavery Society, whose voices spoke loudly in the mid-19th century against the capture and enslavement of people brought forcefully from Africa to be sold, to toil, to be beaten, and to watch their children be sold away.  

“My crazy thought was we needed to have a plaque for the Concord women abolitionist movement,” said Kevin Plodzik, chair of the Friends of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.  

Recognizing Black History and Women’s History Months (February and March, respectively), the Board of Directors of The Friends of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery are holding their 17th Annual Breakfast Event on Saturday, March 2, at Concord’s Colonial Inn.  

Its focus is “Concord’s Own Great Army of Silent Workers: The Women of the Concord Female Anti-Slavery Society.”  

The event features speakers Dr. Jennifer Burton and Dr. Julie Dobrow, Tufts University professors, researchers, and co-directors of the Half the History Project, which aims to tell the untold and under-told inspirational and important stories to new generations.  

The uniqueness of Concord’s Women’s Abolition Group from others is its composition, which included black women such as Susan Garrison and her daughters Ellen and Susan, Jr., and white women like Mary Merrick Brooks, Lidian Jackson Emerson, and Sophia Thoreau. Sleepy Hollow is the resting place for many of these women.  

At the event, the Friends will unveil their plans for a permanent memorial in the cemetery to honor those women.  

Seating is limited, and reservations are required by February 23.  

For more details and reservation information, visit