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Contact: Greg Shine, 360-816-6231
FORT VANCOUVER’S AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY HIGHLIGHTED ONLINE IN NEW NATIONAL PARK SERVICE WEB FEATURE
Vancouver WA – Today, the National Park Service at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site launched a new online web feature highlighting the site’s rich legacy of African American History.
The new web feature, entitled "A Rich Legacy of African American History" highlights information and images that introduce the site’s African American history to visitors.
The new web feature consists of several new web pages containing a plethora of new information and images. Topics include:
• African Americans and the Hudson’s Bay Company
• African Americans in the U.S. Army Era
• A Slave Freed at Fort Vancouver
• Buffalo Soldiers at Vancouver Barracks
• A Continuing Legacy
• African American History Links
"This online web feature is a new way for visitors to connect to the park and its history, and a great way for the park to highlight some of our new and ongoing research," noted Greg Shine, the site’s chief ranger & historian and the project’s manager.
While new research is featured throughout the new web feature, one of the highlights is research examining the freeing of an African American slave at the fort in 1851.
According to a manumission document first noted by historian Fred Lockley in 1916 but largely lost to public memory, Monimia Travers, an African American woman, was freed from slavery in 1851 at Fort Vancouver by the slave’s owner – U.S. Army Capt. Llewellyn Jones, one of the fort’s officers.
"Monimia Travers’ story is an important one for our site, our visitors, and our community," noted Shine. "It directly connects the fort to the issue of African American slavery, something that many associate only with the Deep South or Tidewater plantations. To our knowledge, this story has yet to be widely known or discussed. We hope that the web feature helps bring this and other stories to light and also encourages additional research that will shed more light on this largely obscure part of the park’s history."
Visitors to the park’s website (www.nps.gov/fova ) can click on the link entitled "NEW WEB FEATURE: Fort Vancouver’s African American History" to begin their exploration of the new web feature, or they can go directly to the feature’s URL by pointing their browser to: www.nps.gov/fova/historyculture/a-rich-legacy-of-african-american-history.htm .
The web feature was developed by National Park Service staff as a special program of the Northwest Cultural Resources Institute, centered at Fort Vancouver NHS under the direction of Dr. Douglas C. Wilson.
"This is not a one-time deal; it is an ongoing project in the park," explained Shine. "Perhaps this new web feature will pique the interest of members of the community who would like to help us further this important research. If so, we would love to hear from them and expand the information we can share with the public through programming in this national park setting."
For more information, contact Shine at 360-816-6231 or by e-mail. For more information on becoming a volunteer at Fort Vancouver NHS, please contact Kimm Fox-Middleton, Special Events & Volunteer Program manager, at 360-816-6243 or by e-mail.
Background: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park Service, is the heart of the Vancouver National Historic Reserve. The Vancouver National Historic Reserve brings together a national park, a premier archaeological site, the region's first military post, an international fur trade emporium, one of the oldest operating airfields, the first national historic site west of the Mississippi River, and a waterfront trail and environmental center on the banks of the Columbia River. The partners of the Reserve teach visitors about the fur trade, early military life, natural history, and pioneers in aviation, all within the context of Vancouver’s role in regional and national development. The Reserve's vast array of public programs -- including living history events, festivals, cultural demonstrations, exhibits, active archaeology, and other special activities -- create a dynamic, fun, and unique tourist destination for people of all ages.