If you are a history buff, Contrabands and Freedman Cemetery is an important piece of history that you ought to visit.
Located just a few steps from Bearings Condos, this historic cemetery was established in 1864 by the Union Military commander of the Alexandria District as a burial ground of 1,800 African Americans who fled to Alexandria to escape from bondage. The cemetery was later closed in late 1868 after Congress ended most of the operations of the Bureau operating it. The last burial was made in January 1989.
The cemetery was rediscovered over thirty years later and archeological techniques were used to identify its boundaries and burials. The land was acquired by the city and the cemetery re-established as a memorial in 2014.
Today, visitors can experience a memorial park that honors the memory of the freedmen, women, and children, the hardships they faced, and their contributions to the City. The memorial features Mario Chiodo’s sculpture “The Path of Thorns and Roses,” an allegorical depiction of the struggle for freedom.
The Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery was listed on the U.S National Register of Historic Places in August 2012 and in 2015, it was added to the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, a series of designated sites related to the history of slaves escaping bondage.