The Hampton History Museum in Hampton, Virginia has condensed some of the most powerful chapters from America’s past to share with the public through a series of pop-up exhibits.
The Vermont Racial Justice Alliance contracted with the Hampton History Museum to bring their exhibit, "Toward Freedom" to Burlington for a limited time.
This exhibit tells the story of the men, women, and children who escaped slavery to seek the possibility of freedom at Fort Monroe, near Hampton. It explores critical questions surrounding slavery and the individuals who changed the world just one month into the Civil War.
On May 25, 1861, three young men escaped to union-held Fort Monroe and petitioned for their freedom. In response to their actions, Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, the commander of Union forces in the area, proclaimed them “Contraband of War.” Word spread and enslaved people brought their families and gathered by the thousands at Fort Monroe, known by the Contrabands as “Freedom’s Fort.”