Contrabands & Freedmen Cemetery Memorial 5th Anniversary Celebration

Learn about the 5th Anniversary of the Dedication of Alexandria's Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial, September 13-15, 2019.

Page updated on Sep 30, 2019 at 10:16 AM


Contrabands & Freedmen Cemetery Memorial 5th Anniversary Celebration

September 13-15, 2019

Freedmen Cemetery LogoThis moving and educational weekend event included a Friday evening opening address with local Contraband historian Char McCargo Bah. Other events included: a morning wreath-laying at the site, a luncheon to honor descendant families with a keynote address by National Park Service Superintendent of Fort Monroe National Monument, Terry E. Brown, a curated bus tour of  Alexandria's African American heritage sites, and an evening candlelight vigil at the memorial. 


More Information

About the Memorial: Alexandria Contrabands & Freemen Cemetery Memorial 

Press Coverage:  Descendants of escaped slaves honor ancestors in Alexandria. Zoey Maraist, staff writer, Arlington Catholic Herald.


Descendant Events

September 13-15, 2019

Contrabands and Freedemen Cemetery Memorial Dedication (2014) Descendants are encouraged to register for the "Descendant Weekend Package." Registration is $100, with tickets available at The Alexandria Shop. An early bird discount is offered for those registering before August 9th. Several events are free to the public and do not require advance reservation. These include the Friday evening lecture, the Saturday wreath laying, and the Saturday Candlelight Vigil. Tickets and pre-registration are required for the Saturday Luncheon and Saturday Bus Tour. 

View the Descendant Events schedule for program details, location of events, and shuttle bus information.

With the exception of the wreath-laying ceremony, all events are at the Nannie J. Lee Recreation Center, 1108 Jefferson Street.

Friday, September 13

  • Open House, noon - 4 p.m.
  • Opening Program, 6:30 p.m.
  • Lecture: Alexandria's Freedmen's Cemetery, A Legacy of Freedom. By historian Char McCargo Bah, followed by reception and book signing, 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, September 14

  • Wreath Laying Ceremony, 10:30 a.m.
  • Luncheon and Program, noon - 2 p.m.
    Keynote address by Terry E. Brown, National Park Service Superintendent of Fort Monroe National Monument. 
    The History of Caroline Branham: The Power of the Pinecone,  by ZSun-nee Miller-Matema, Historical Interpreter.
  • Bus Tour of Alexandria African American Sites, 2:30 - 5:30 p.m.
    Freedom House Museum
    Fort Ward Museum
    Virginia Theological Seminary
  • Candlelight Vigil at Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial, 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, September 15

  • Private Tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, 8:00 a.m. (Limited to first 50 registrants).

Public Events

September 13-14, 2019

Contrabands and Freedemen Cemetery (L Barnes, ACVA)Several events are free to the public and do not require advance reservation.  These include the Friday evening lecture, the Saturday wreath laying, and the Saturday Candlelight Vigil.  

View the Public Events schedule for program details and location of events.

With the exception of the wreath-laying ceremony, all events are at the Nannie J. Lee Recreation Center, 1108 Jefferson Street.

Friday, September 13

  • Lecture: Alexandria's Freedmen's Cemetery, A Legacy of Freedom. By historian Char McCargo Bah, followed by reception and book signing, 7:00 p.m. Free event, doors open at 6:30.

Saturday, September 14

  • Wreath Laying Ceremony, 10:30 a.m.
  • Luncheon and Program, noon - 2 p.m.
    Ticketed event, $65. 
    Keynote address by  Terry E. Brown, National Park Service Superintendent of Fort Monroe National Monument. 
    The History of Caroline Branham: The Power of the Pinecone,  by ZSun-nee Miller-Matema, Historical Interpreter.
  • Bus Tour of Alexandria African American Sites, 2:30 - 5:30 p.m.
    Ticketed event, $35. 
    Freedom House Museum
    Fort Ward Museum
    Virginia Theological Seminary
  • Candlelight Vigil at Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial, 8:30 p.m.


Photo Gallery - Contrabands & Freedmen Cemetery Memorial 5th Anniversary Celebration - September 13-15, 2019

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