Fort Monroe, located in Hampton, Virginia, was a United States Army post until its deactivation in 2011. President Barack Obama proclaimed Fort Monroe a national monument due to its complex history, including its ties to slavery and emancipation. This paper outlines an ongoing research project designed to identify and humanize both the enslaved who helped build the fort and those who were declared as contraband there during the American Civil War. Housed in the National Archives and Records Administration in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the United States Army Engineer Records from 1819 to 1866 is the main area of focus for this research project. After reviewing portions of this extensive collection, hundreds of people have been identified by first and last name and further analysis has provided a window into the lives of those who labored and sought refuge at the fort. When completed, the final product from this research will include digitally accessible databases of transcribed documents that will be available to the public at the Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center. It is hoped that these resources will facilitate additional genealogical connections and help to humanize and commemorate the individuals associated with the Fort Monroe Arc of Freedom.
Kelly, William R. Jr.
"Humanizing the Enslaved of Fort Monroe’s Arc of Freedom,"
Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies: Vol. 6, Article 12.
Available at: https://elischolar.library.yale.edu/jcas/vol6/iss1/12