In 1867, eighteen former slaves and members of the United States Colored Troops established a township in Talbot County, Maryland after they returned from fighting in the United States Civil War. The township is the only village in America founded by former slaves and veterans of the U.S. Colored Troops. The land on which the village was founded was offered to the returning soldiers for lease for one dollar per month by a Quaker plantation owner with the promise that they would erect a schoolhouse and church, which later became St. Stephen’s AME. The village was a model township within a hostile white supremacist society during the Jim Crow era and continues today to be a successful community centered around a significant spirituality connected to their ancestors. Unionville was named in honor of the Union army, which they believed was responsible for their liberation. 2018 marks the 150th anniversary of Unionville, as well as the 200th birthday of famed abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass, who came from the same land as the eighteen founders of Unionville. The project used intaglio etchings to render the photos, a printmaking technique used during the time of the Civil War to produce mass images.
Gabriella Demczuk is a Lebanese-American photographer, printmaker and journalist based between Washington D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland. Born in Sweden but raised in Luxembourg, Belgium and later the United States, she studied fine arts and journalism at The George Washington University and photography at the Parsons School of Art and Design in Paris. Gabriella has been recognized by The White House News Photographers Association, American Photography, The Society of Professional Journalists, Women Photograph, PH Museum and Pictures of the Year International (POYi). Gabriella was named Photoboite’s “30 Under 30 Women Photographers”, “Emerging Photographer” by the Magenta Foundation, Presidential Scholar in the Arts, finalist for the Inge Morath award from the Magnum Foundation and “Emerging Talent” at Getty Reportage.