Slavery existed in Alexandria, VA, since the city's origins, and ads in the Alexandria Gazette document generations of freedom seekers. Alexandria was also the site of a substantial population of free African Americans, as well as a thriving slave trade. During the Civil War, when Alexandria was occupied by federal forces, the city became a magnet for African Ameriicans escaping from enslavement. The Alexandria Library, Special Collections Branch, collects books, journals, newspapers, microfilm, private papers, wills, deeds, tax records and dissertations dealing with the history and culture of Virginia and the Mid Atlantic region, with a concentration on Northern Virginia. The branch is the repository for the historic records of the city of Alexandria. Published resources in the collection include memoirs, religious and civic histories, and genealogies. The archives holds many items unique to the history of Alexandria and Northern Virginia. The Collection also includes books and periodicals from every county in the state of VA. Recent budget reductions have forced the library to cut both staff and service hours. Despite these cuts, the library is able to successfully assist patrons with their researach. The branch remains the place to go for both scholarly research and general public inquiry regarding the Underground Railroad, African American history and the story of both in Alexandria.
Visitor Information: Currently open to public.
Location: 717 Queen St., Alexandria, Alexandria, 22314
National Park Unit: No
Ownership: George K. Combs
Location Type: Facility