News Release

Learn how African Americans defined their freedom during the Civil War

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Date: September 12, 2017
Contact: Dennis Frye, 304-535-6224
Contact: Autumn Cook, 304-535-2908

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va – Step back to 1862 and explore the complex history of the US Civil War through the experiences of “Contraband,” enslaved African Americans seeking freedom behind Union lines.. Join the park’s living history staff and volunteers on Saturday and Sunday, September 23 and 24, 2017, for Lives In Limbo: A Contraband Camp In the Shadow of John Brown’s Fort.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, staff and volunteers will provide third-person presentations to highlight African Americans who chose to find refuge behind Union army lines at Harpers Ferry.

The 1861 Contraband decision allowed freedom seekers a quasi free status, no longer a slave, yet still equivalent to property. As Contraband, able bodied men, women, and children worked and served the Union for rations; finding a sense of protection yet remaining vulnerable to recapture.  This programming will illuminate the experiences of contraband communities and those who served the United States Colored Troops.

For more information about this living history weekend, contact Melinda Day at 304-535-6063.



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Last updated: September 13, 2017

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Mailing Address:

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


(304) 535-6029

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