Descendants of "Contrabands" sought for events

The Contraband Historical Society is seeking to get in touch with area descendants of the "contrabands" - the enslaved people who escaped from bondage in the early years of the Civil War, protected by the U.S. Army under the legal doctrine of "contraband of war." These were the people who, during the war, founded many of the early free African-American communities that survive to this day.

The society hopes to host a reunion of these descendants on May 5, 2018, at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, the place were the "contraband of war" decision was first made and which was the first place of refuge for the "contrabands." This would be in conjunction with Civil War "living history" tours at the fort that same day, presented by the National Park Service with the Society s co-sponsor.

The society also invites the public to join it at these other Park Service events this spring at Fort Monroe:

* A Freedom Concert 7 p.m. April 19, at the bandstand near The Chamberlin.

* A Contraband Decision commemoration ceremony, the evening of May 24 at the fort.

The Contraband Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the memory of this first wave of freedom for the enslaved and educating the public about these historic events and people. For information about the reunion or other events, contact the Contraband Historical Society, contrabandhs@gmail.com, or by mail at P.O. Box 7582, Hampton, VA 23666. Please respond by April 20, 2018.

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