Alexandria and Arena Stage Co Host Special Performance and Community Conversation Celebrating the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial

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City of Alexandria and Arena Stage Co-Host Special Performance and "Community Conversation" Celebrating the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial 

On March 5, celebrate and honor the lives and legacy of African Americans seeking freedom with “The Journey to be Free: Descendants Returning Home to Alexandria,” a special performance honoring the city’s Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial on the 150th anniversary of the site’s first burial.

Hosted by the City of Alexandria and presented by Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, this event features award-winning lecturer, author, and historian C.R. Gibbs and the All Souls Jubilee Singers. The performance, which will explore the history of Alexandria and the evocative music of that period, will be followed by an interactive “Community Conversation” with the participants. The event begins at 7 p.m. and will be held at the Lee Center’s Richard Kauffman Auditorium, 1108 Jefferson St. While there is no charge for this event, reservations are required. For reservations, call 202.488.3300 or visit the Arena Stage reservation website

During the Civil War, the Alexandria Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery was the burial place for approximately 1,800 African Americans who fled to Alexandria to escape bondage. The cemetery fell into disrepair and nearly disappeared in the 20th Century before being restored and rededicated in 2007. Now, in the sesquicentennial of both the Cemetery and the Civil War, a beautiful new memorial has been developed to honor this site and those who were laid to rest there. To learn more about the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial, visit

This event is being presented as part of the National Civil War Project, a multi-city, multi-year collaboration between four universities and five performing arts organizations to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. The Project will include the commissioning of 12 original works for the stage as well as create new arts-integrated academic programs. A national initiative symbolizing the geographic scope of the Civil War, the Project is inspired by noted choreographer and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Liz Lerman. The Project includes Alliance Theatre and Emory College Center for Creativity & Arts at Emory University in Atlanta, GA; American Repertory Theater and Harvard University in Cambridge, MA; Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater and The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.; CENTERSTAGE in Baltimore, MD; and The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD.

The City of Alexandria is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended. To request a reasonable accommodation, e-mail or call 703.746.4719, Virginia Relay 711.