Harriet Tubman Photo in the Public Domain

Harriet Tubman Photo in the Public Domain

This wonderful photograph of Harriet Tubman, re-discovered last year, is now conserved and in the public domain!

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"Dealer in Slaves" to Freedom House

"Dealer in Slaves" to Freedom House

There's been a lot in the paper lately about Freedom House in Alexandria. Here's some background.

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Honoring Anna Lynch

Honoring Anna Lynch

Anna Lynch (1925-2017), much loved and respected, honored at the Lyceum on September 23.

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Update--Appomattox Statue, Then and Now

Update--Appomattox Statue, Then and Now

The Confederate veteran has stood on Alexandria's main north-south thoroughfare for more than 100 years. What should happen to it now?

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Solar Eclipse 1860

Solar Eclipse 1860

Julia Wilbur found an eclipse had a "baleful" effect on her mood.

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Tough Choices for a New Monument

Tough Choices for a New Monument

How to choose 8 people to recognize at the base of a monument to honor emancipation and freedom? With difficulty.

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Bon Voyage to the Ship (for now)

Bon Voyage to the Ship (for now)

More than 200 pieces of an 18th century ship, each triple-wrapped and on its way to Texas A&M for conservation. A good event in Alexandria, the day after the shootings at Simpson Field.

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A Wonderful Harriet Tubman Discovery

A Wonderful Harriet Tubman Discovery

Harriet Tubman in her mid-40s--a newly discovered photo that is a real gem!

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Abolitionist "Social Media"

Abolitionist "Social Media"

Well before Facebook and Twitter, 19th-century activists still connected and mobilized.

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What would Julia think?

What would Julia think?

No protest marches in Julia Wilbur's life, but she was there in spirit.

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September 24, 2016 & 1866, Washington, DC

September 24, 2016 & 1866, Washington, DC

Washington, DC, September 24, 2016--opening of African American History Museum and Library of Congress Book Festival. September 24, 1866--visits to Andrew Johnson and a cure for a "secret disease"

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Female Soldiers of the Civil War

Female Soldiers of the Civil War

A ceremony at Arlington Cemetery honored female soldiers of the Civil War--women who hid their identities and fought side-by-side with men.

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Appomattox Statue, Then and Now

Appomattox Statue, Then and Now

The Confederate veteran has stood on Alexandria's main north-south thoroughfare for more than 100 years. Once grass grew between the cobblestones at his feet.

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Save Our Ship!

Early port-improvers used whatever materials they had available--including pieces of "trash" ships, a recent find a few months ago at 220 South Union Street, future site of the Hotel Indigo.

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Speak, Sister!

Music and storytelling were a huge part of the 19th century...

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220 South Union

At 220 South Union Street, right off the Potomac River at the corner with Duke Street, a Hotel Indigo will replace a shipping terminal. Archaeologists have been peeling back the layers.

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Archaeological Commission Award & Planning

The Alexandria Archaeological Commission awarded me its Outstanding Researcher Award at a ceremony at City Hall last week.

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L'Hermione Comes to Alexandria

A replica of one of the Marquis de Lafayette's ships is in Alexandria for three days as part of a tour of the Eastern Seaboard from Yorktown to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Suddenly, everyone is very conscious of saying its name in the French style (lair-me-own) rather than the English (like the character in Harry Potter). Lafayette sailed on the original ship in 1780, one of many times he came across the Atlantic, this time with word that France would support the Americans with men and ships. At the ceremony I attended yesterday, much was made of the historic and current French-U.S. alliance, with lots of Vive la France! cries from the speakers and audience. The real treat was to board the ship. (It had that wonderful smell of creosote or tar or something that I remember from working at Mystic Seaport many years ago.)

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Lafayette died in 1834, still a beloved figure in the U.S.

Shortly after Julia Wilbur arrived in Washington in October 1862, she took her first walk around LaFayette Sq. [sic], across from the White House, a fashionable address for Washington movers and shakers.

In Alexandria, on January 7, 1863, when her sister Frances and sister-in-law Charlotte were visiting--

...  Met Col. Tait who told us of a Museum over the Market. We went there. A police man opened the sanctorum for us. There is the bier on which Washington was carried to the grave, & Lafayette’s saddle, & Revolutionary Flags & many curious and interesting relics. They are covered with dust, & the labels are torn off some of them. I must go there again.

Everyone would have known about the Marquis de Lafayette, dust notwithstanding.

And here is the beautiful ship from a press package--which I could not begin to capture with my iphone camera.

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Missing Soldiers Office Now Open

A great addition to understand the "people" side of the Civil War--Clara Barton's Missing Soldiers Office is now open.

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Alexandria Walking Tour

On Monday, April 13, Pamela Cressey, who teaches Historical Archaeology at George Washington University, asked me to join her class as she took them on an abbreviated tour to show them the places they have studied in class. We met on a beautiful spring afternoon at the King Street Metro Station and headed southeast to Duke Street. First stops" Bruin's--one of the "inspirations" for Uncle Tom's Cabin--and Franklin & Armfield slave pens. Both establishments were flourishing mid-19th century businesses that dealt in the purchase and sale of humans. Alongside Franklin & Armfield (sold and called Price Birch and Co. by 1861), the Union built a hospital for African American soldiers and civilians, called L'Ouverture Hospital, in 1864 and operated for the next several years before it was torn down.

Julia Wilbur often visited these sites.

Our last stop was Alexandria National Cemetery, the military cemetery built in 1863. In a future blog post, I will talk more about the cemetery, including an ultimately successful petition by L'Ouverture patients in late 1864 to demand that black soldiers be buried there.

Pam (Alexandria's now-retired City Archaeologist) had assigned her students a project to research some of the USCT through hospital and pension records. Then they fanned out in the cemetery to search for the gravestone of "their" soldiers.

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