Prison Ship Martyrs Monument Centennial

Ever wondered what that giant tower in Fort Greene Park is?  The one that was hidden under scaffolding for ages? It's the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, and it turns 100 years old this coming weekend!

The Fort Greene Park Conservancy has scheduled several events for this coming weekend, most of them on Saturday and free.  The monument, which has been dark for 70 years, will be relit and the park will host a number of tours and family-friendly events (many of them with a "olden days" theme).

Here is the schedule thus far: Come be a part of history and honor our country as we re-light the monument, which has been dark for over seventy years! To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1908 dedication of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, a grand celebration will take place on November 15, 2008 in Fort Greene Park. The majestic Stanford White-designed Monument which stands in the heart of the Park is one of the most important and sacred memorials in our country. It honors the remains of over 11,500 POWs, interred in a crypt beneath the Monument, who perished for the cause of freedom during the American War of Independence.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2008 5:30-7:30 PM - Kick-Off Reception at MoCADA, 80 Hanson Place. Prize-winning art works inspired by the experiences of the British Prison Ship Martyrs during the American Revolution, created by neighborhood high school students; free, refreshments.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2008 RAIN OR SHINE Full Day of Free Spectacular Activities in Fort Greene Park 10:00 AM - To reserve for limited space events, sign-up sheets will be available in the Visitors’ Center. 11:00 AM - NYC Department of Parks and Recreation unveiling of the Monument eagles. Noon – 3:45 PM - Visitors Center: Family Roots Project: Explore your family’s roots, free genealogical workshops and assistance with individual searches conducted by professionals from the African Atlantic Genealogical Society; entertainment stage: Jazz by Jeff Newell’s New Trad and Wade Barnes’ Brooklyn Four plus One, Brooklyn High School of the Arts band, performers from Irondale Theater; * Guided bus tours of the Brooklyn Navy Yard; Revolutionary war re-enactors; activities for families – meet Mr. Walt Whitman; Ranger-led tours of the park; *a horse and buggy will be available for family fun and to provide transport for people in need of help to reach the Monument Plaza. *Limited space events 3:15 PM - Fife and drum led procession and parade of flags from South Oxford Park to Fort Greene Park Monument Plaza for the beginning of the formal tribute. 3:30 – 3:45 PM - Monument stairs: Flag-posting ceremony 4:15 PM - Formal commemoration: U.S. National Anthem sung by Tony Award winner Cady Huffman; keynote address by Dr. Edwin G. Burrows, the 1999 Pulitzer Prize winner and author of recently released “Forgotten Patriots; The Untold Story of American Prisoners During the Revolutionary War;” 21- gun salute; wreath-laying; color guards; solemn military pageantry and much much more! 5:00 PM - Re-lighting the Eternal Flame of the Prison Ship Martyrs for the first time since 1921, and the return of our eagles after a four-decade struggle by undaunted Fort Greeners. 5:30 – 7:30 PM - Reception: Brooklyn Technical High School, 29 South Elliott Place immediately following the re-dedication of the Monument and the re-lighting of the eternal flame, in the fabulous Art Deco lobby of the school. Food provided by the chef/owner of the restaurant Eletteria, Akhtar Nawab, former sous-chef for Tom Coliccio at Craft. Entertainment will be provided by noted cabaret singer, Victoria England. For this reception there is a charge of $25, which must be paid in advance. For reservations call Ruth Goldstein at 718.596.0899. 7:30 PM - Free Concert: Brooklyn Technical High School Auditorium, 29 South Elliott Place. World Premier of “Brooklyn Bones: Requiem for the Prison Ship Martyrs” by composer Alvin Singleton, text by Patricia Hampl, commissioned by the Fort Greene Park Conservancy to commemorate the Centennial. It is a work for chorus, orchestra and solo tenor.

For more info on the monument itself, click here.