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Sat Aug 24, 2019, 12:31 PM

Twilight marchers in Alexandria evoke the pain of enslaved thousands


‘We cannot be forgetting’: Twilight marchers in Alexandria evoke the pain of enslaved thousands

Dozens gathered in Alexandria on Friday evening to march and remember the near 1 million slaves who were forced to walk to plantations in the Deep South between 1810 and 1865. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

By Hannah Natanson
August 17

When the cotton-candy-colored sky faded to black above the old cemetery, they started marching. ... They numbered in the dozens: men and women, young and old, black and white. They bowed their heads, watched their steps on ragged brick sidewalks and cupped electric candles in their palms. They were silent — a silence they kept for the mile-long journey from Alexandria’s Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery to the small yellow rowhouse that was once the largest slave-trading depot in the nation.

Earlier that Friday evening, the Rev. Joseph Thompson, director of multicultural ministries at the Virginia Theological Seminary, had reminded the crowd — which included faith leaders, politicians, historians, students, couples and families — why they were gathered. ... “It’s all so we can get an idea, some insight into what it must have been like to march for days and weeks on end,” Thompson said. “We must raise awareness."

Thompson was referring to a painful slice of history that, until recently, was known only to scholars: the Slave Trail of Tears in which about a million enslaved people were forced to walk from the Upper South — Virginia, Maryland and Kentucky — to labor on plantations in the Deep South. The migration, which took place between 1810 and 1865, reshaped the country, won slave traders immense fortunes and ripped apart countless families.

The event Friday, organized by the Episcopal seminary in collaboration with the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, was meant to honor the enslaved marchers. It was also timed to coincide with the 400th anniversary of enslaved Africans’ arrival in North America — and it kicked off a weekend of church-organized ceremonies that will all take place in sites located along the path enslaved marchers traveled, what is today U.S. Route 50 and U.S. Route 11.

Hannah Natanson is a reporter covering social issues in the D.C. metro area. She joined The Washington Post as an intern in June 2018. Follow https://twitter.com/hannah_natanson

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Reply Twilight marchers in Alexandria evoke the pain of enslaved thousands (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Aug 24 OP
underpants Aug 24 #1
mahatmakanejeeves Aug 24 #2

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Sat Aug 24, 2019, 12:52 PM

1. 🕯


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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Sat Aug 24, 2019, 01:00 PM

2. More about "the largest slave-trading depot in the nation."

I went through the public education system in Alexandria through the seventh grade. In all that time, I never heard one word about this.

Franklin and Armfield Office

Franklin and Armfield Office

Freedom House

Location: Alexandria, Virginia
Coordinates: 38°48′14″N 77°3′17″
Built: 1810
Architect: Robert Young
Architectural style: Federal, Other
NRHP reference #: 78003146
VLR #: 100-0105

The Franklin and Armfield Office, which houses the Freedom House Museum, is a historic commercial building at 1315 Duke Street in Alexandria, Virginia (until 1846, the District of Columbia). Built c. 1810-20, it was first used as a private residence before being converted to the offices of the largest slave trading firm in the United States, started in 1828 by Isaac Franklin and John Armfield. "As many as [a] million people are thought to have passed through between 1828 and 1861, on their way to bondage in Mississippi and Louisiana". Another source, using ship manifests (lists of slaves) in the National Archives, gives the number as "at least 5,000". [5] One million is generally historians' estimate of the total of all slaves who were moved to the Deep South in the domestic slave trade.

The building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978, and has also been designated a Virginia Historic Landmark. The building is owned by the Northern Virginia Urban League; it is operated as a museum, with exhibits about the slave trading firm and the life of a slave.

[5] Sweig, Donald (October 2014). "Alexandria to New Orleans: The Human Tragedy of the Interstate Slave Trade" (PDF). Alexandria Gazette-Packet. Retrieved February 13, 2018.


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