President Obama signs proclamation designating Ft. Monroe a National Monument
Fort Monroe, a historic fort in Virginia's Tidewater region, played a pivotal role in the history of slavery in the United States. Built between 1819 and 1834, Fort Monroe has occupied a strategic coastal defensive position since the earliest days of the Virginia Colony. It was the place where Dutch traders first brought enslaved Africans in 1619. During the Civil War, the fort remained in Union possession and became a place for escaped slaves to find refuge. Fort Monroe was the site of General Benjamin Butler's "Contraband Decision" in 1861, which provided a pathway to freedom for thousands of enslaved people during the Civil War and served as a forerunner of President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.
To see the entire White House Press Release go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/11/01/president-obama-sign-proclamation-designating-fort-monroe-national-monum