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* Hampton City News

Posted on: May 22, 2019

Contraband Historical Society remembers men, women, children who escaped during the Civil War

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May 22, 2019 - Join the Contraband Historical Society on Friday as the society memorializes Frank Baker, James Townsend and Sheppard Mallory, as well as thousands of other men, women and children who escaped slavery during the Civil War. The Annual Contraband Memorial Candlelight Vigil will be held Friday, May 24, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Fort Monroe National Monument’s Cannon Park, 3 Ruckman Road.

 Fort Monroe was the site of the famous contraband decision during the American Civil War. On May 24, 1861, Frank Baker, James Townsend and Sheppard Mallory escaped from enslavement in Norfolk and sought sanctuary at Union-controlled Fort Monroe. The post commander, General Benjamin Butler decided that these men were being used as “contraband” by Confederates in the war effort. This event marked the first occurrence during the Civil War that U.S. officials did not return people escaping their enslavement to those demanding their return. Following the contraband decision, tens of thousands of enslaved men and women traveled to Fort Monroe to gain their freedom over the course of the war. More information.


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