The City of Alexandria will officially dedicate the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial on Saturday, September 6, at 10 a.m. The memorial park honors the memory of the Alexandria’s Freedmen, the hardships they faced, and their contributions to the City. The September 6 dedication caps three days of events featuring Alexandria’s Civil War and African American history.
September 6, 2014
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 faded from memory before being restored and rededicated in 2007. Now, in the sesquicentennial of both the Cemetery and the Civil War, a new memorial honors this site and those who were laid to rest there. Their descendants, many of whom will be coming to Alexandria for the Dedication, now live in nearly all 50 states.
The Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial project was completed under the stewardship of the City of Alexandria and the Friends of Freedmen's Cemetery. Funding was provided by the City, the Federal Highway Administration and Virginia Department of Transportation through the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project, and a grant from Save America's Treasures, a public-private partnership between the National Park Service and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Memorial features artist Mario Chiodo's sculpture "The Path of Thorns and Roses," an allegorical depiction of the struggle for freedom; the Memorial's bas-reliefs depicting the flight to freedom were done by local sculptor Joanna Blake. AECOM (formerly EDAW) and Howard + Revis Design comprised the design team for the Memorial.
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The Alexandria Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial ornament depicts Mario Chiodo's passionate statue, The Path of Thorns and Roses, framed by the memorial's arched entranceway. As the centerpiece of the memorial, the statue depicts the allegoric figures of Oppression, Struggle, Sacrifice, Loss, Compassion, and Hope. The ornament commemorates the 150th anniversary of the cemetery's first burial and the memorial's official opening in September, 2014.
Visit the Alexandria Shop to purchase this ornament.
Preserving Alexandria's African American Heritage: The Development of Freedmen's Cemetery Memorial - lecture/presentation by Audrey Davis, ABHM Director Francine Bromberg, Acting City Archaeologist
Memorial Dedication **
Information about the BanquetThursday, September 4, 2014
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