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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Archaeology Museum
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Page updated Mar 5, 2014 12:26 PM

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Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial Construction

Tentative dedication date moved to Saturday, September 6, 2014. 


Construction Update:

Construction of the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial has been proceeding. Explore photo galleries from February 2014, and read more about the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial history, archaeology of the site, and commemoration ceremonies.


Stonework Panels | Wrought Iron Arch | Fence | Statue | Bas Relief | Grave Markers | Other Features 

Return to Main Freedmen's Cemetery Page 


Stonework Panels

Stonework for the Memorial walls, walkways and entry gate has now been completed. 

Freedmens Cemetery Gate 

Freedmens Gatepost 

Freedmens Memorial Walls 

Cemetery Gate Gatepost Memorial Wall

Freedmens Panel Wall 

Freedmens Panel Walls 






Panel Wall Panel Walls  



Wrought Iron Arch

The wrought iron arched sign atop the main gate to Freedmen’s Cemetery was installed on February 27, 2014. 

Freedmens Cemetery Gate 

 Freedmens Arch Ironwork 

Cemetery Gate Wrought Iron Arch

 Freedmens Gate from interior 

 Freedmens Arch Ironwork 

Gateway from Interior of the Memorial Another View of the Arch




Wrought iron fencing has been installed to protect the Freedmen’s Cemetery and the Memorial, echoing the ghost of the original wooden picket fence which long ago vanished from the site.

Freedmens Fencing 

 Freedmens Fence Corner 

Wrought iron fencing. Fencing at the corner of the Cemetery.


Statue: The Path of Thorns and Roses

The memorial sculpture, The Path of Thorns and Roses, is by California based artist Mario Chiodo. Chiodo was selected after a national search to design and create the sculpture. The larger-than-life figurative sculpture captures what the artist envisioned the emotions of the Contrabands and Freedmen would have been at various stages of their Journey.

 Freedmens Statue: The Path of Thorns and Roses 

 Freedmens Statue Shadow 

Freedmens Statue Installation 

The Path of Thorns and Roses, by Mario Chiodo. Note the delicacy of the shadow cast by the statue. Installing the statue, July 25, 2013.



Bas Relief

Two bas relief panels by artist Joanna Blake will honor those buried at the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery.

Freedmen's Bas Relief

Bas Relief, by artist Joanna Blake.


Grave Markers

 Grave markers, some outlining the coffin shapes below, have been installed across the cemetery to identify known burial sites.

 Freedmens Markers, coffin shaped 

 Freedmens Grave Markers 

 Freedmens Grave Markers, another view 

Grave markers in the shape of coffins. Grave markers. The original pathway location was also confirmed archaeologically. Stones mark the location of known burial sites.


Other Features 

Sidewalk Circle, frame for interpretive signs, and site of the former office building.

Freedmens Sidewalk Circle 

 Freedmens Interpretive Sign Frame 

 Office Building Site 

Ground plane granite markers in the brick sidewalk adjacent to the Freedmen’s Cemetery point passersby towards the Memorial. Frames for have been installed on the sidewalk surrounding the Cemetery to hold interpretive panels which will explain the historical significance of the site. The site of the former entrance to the office building built atop the Freedmen’s Cemetery is now rebuilt as a viewing platform.

Alexandria Archaeology Museum
105 N. Union Street, #327
Alexandria, VA 22314
Fax: 703.838.6491

Museum Hours
Tuesday - Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, 1 - 5 p.m
Monday, Closed

Office Hours
Tuesday - Saturday
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
by appointment