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Sponsors & Contributors

Richardson Museum 

Earth Conservation Coprs

Rappaport Comp.

Skyland Town Center

Humanitites Council

River Park Friends in Southwest Washington, D.C.

Joseph and Lynn Horning CFNCR

Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development

Randle AME Church

Asbury UMC 

Lloyd D. Smith Foundation

DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

Eric Gordon 

The Nixon Family

Tendani Upulubusi El

Capitan Maxwell and Vicky Kennedy


Far NE Weed and Seed

About Lloyd D. Smith (1933-2004)

#Buildthepearl Schooner.

Escape on the Pearl - The Heroic Bid for Freedom on the Underground Railroad

In April 1848 an audacious escape on the Underground Railroad involved more than seventy fugitives and a fifty-four-ton schooner named the Pearl. It took place in Washington, D.C, certainly not the first place most people envision when picturing American slavery. But the plan was not organized solely for the purpose of aiding enslaved people in the nation’s capital to reach freedom. That could have been accomplished in the usual way, with smaller groups. This escape had evolved into a plan that would shock the country. For more than ten years, abolitionists had been lobbying for the end of slavery in the District of Columbia with no success. They now wanted to shine a light on the horrors of slavery and the slave trade - a good number of those fugitives were on the verge of being sold to the labor-hungry cotton fields of the Lower South - in the capital of the country that had successfully waged a revolution in the name of democracy and self-determination.

Volunteer To Build the "Spirit of the Pearl" Schooner Click Here:

Excerpt from book written by Mary Kay Ricks 

The Pearl Coalition to start building the "Spirit of the Pearl" schooner.

The Pearl Coalition (TPC) will begin to fully realize its mission to build the replica of the schooner Pearl.  We will engage over 1000 regional residents, friends and students to facilitate all aspects of the building process from construction to event planning and communications.  Join the “Voyage of Freedom” as a friend and volunteer.

Our new strategic partnership with The Richardson Museum at Cambridge, MD, has a team with over 100 years of collective experience in building and managing Schooners all over the East Coast.  Based on best practices, cinergy and cost, The "Spirit of the Pearl" schooner will be built on the waterfront in Cambridge, MD.  Students from DC will travel on day trips to participate in the build process, as well as receive watershed Chesapeake Bay environmental education, and tour the Harriet Tubman national historic site.  Students from Cambridge will also help build the Pearl schooner, and travel to DC to see the actual escape routes and locations where these historic events took place.  This "Sister Cities" program will also include Virginia students and residents.  

The opportunity to complete Lloyd Smith’s vision to build The Pearl Schooner is now! The Anacostia River waterfront development, the SW Waterfront, 11th Street Bridge Park, the Soccer Stadium, Southwest waterfront, multiple mixed unit developments and The "Spirit of the Pearl" are scheduled to be completed in the year of 2017/2018. The Pearl Schooner is the centerpiece that will connect and attract an additional 2 million visitors and tourist to the waterfront, linking the community to educational and economic opportunities.

(View of the possible inside design of the Pearl Schooner)

Empowering Educational Diversity Centered Programming

Historic tours, school-based educational programming, workforce development, entrepreneurial business creation & Innovation, and Social Enterprise Compensation programs will continue as we prepare for the arrival of the "Spirit of the Pearl".  These programs are critical to insure that the community and residents have a starting place to participate on the ground level of these new emerging markets created by massive redevelopment and population shifts.  We need additional support from our local and regional elected officials, business community, churches and faith-based institutions, school districts’, and most importantly, YOU!


Join Us, Voluteer to help Build the "Spirit of the Pearl"  and/or Support us with a Donation Here!


See more about the first attempt to bring theValkyrien to DC. 

Voyage to Freedom - The Pearl Coalition from Pearl Coalition on Vimeo.