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017893668
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 42
Offered May 9, 2001
Commending the Contraband Historical Society.
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Patron-- Christian
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Unanimous consent to introduce
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WHEREAS, the Contraband Historical Society in Hampton is an organization with the mission of researching, preserving, and promoting the history, legacy, and contributions of the slaves who were considered "contraband of war"; and

WHEREAS, on May 23, 1861, three slaves, Frank Baker, Sheppard Mallory, and James Townsend, fled to Fortress Monroe in Hampton for protection behind Union lines during the Civil War; and

WHEREAS, the commanding officer of Fortress Monroe, Major General Benjamin F. Butler, declared the slaves "contraband of war" and refused to return them, thereby prompting thousands of slaves to flee to Fortress Monroe and contribute to the Union war effort in exchange for their freedom; and

WHEREAS, these contraband slaves became scouts, guides, spies, cooks, hospital workers, blacksmiths, and mule-drivers, contributing immensely to the Union war effort for the balance of the Civil War; and

WHEREAS, many of the contraband slaves rebuilt the City of Hampton following the fire of August 7, 1861, which destroyed the city; and

WHEREAS, the contraband slaves established and designed the "Grand Contraband Camp" in the heart of what is now downtown Hampton, named several streets within the camp, and established one of the nation's first self-contained black communities; and

WHEREAS, the Contraband Historical Society sponsors the annual Contraband Slaves' Memorial Celebration in Hampton, featuring a parade and memorial services in Fort Monroe; and

WHEREAS, the Contraband Historical Society, through research, networking, lectures, multimedia presentations, and educational opportunities for children, aims to preserve and promote the legacy of the contraband slaves and their many contributions; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly commend the Contraband Historical Society for its efforts to preserve the unique history of the contraband slaves in Virginia; and, be it

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to Gerri L. Hollins, president of the Contraband Historical Society, as an expression of the General Assembly's admiration and support.


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