|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
The Historic Plaque reads as follows:
"Federal authorities established a cemetery here for newly freed African Americans during the civil war. In January 1864, the military governor of Alexandria confiscated for use as a burying ground an abandoned pasture from a family with Confederate sympathies. About 1,700 freed people, including infants and black Union soldiers were interred here before the last recorded burial in January 1869. Most of the deceased had resided in what is known as Old Town and in nearby rural settlements. Despite mid-twentieth-century construction projects, many burials remain undisturbed. A list of those interred here has also survived."
The Contrabands and Freedman Cemetery at 1001 S. Washington St. in Alexandria, Virginia was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 15, 2012.
Brief History -
The cemetery operated under General Slough's command. Its oversight was supervised by Alexandria’s Superintendent of Contrabands, the Rev. Albert Gladwin, who made arrangements for burials. Each grave was identified with a whitewashed, wooden grave marker. In 1868, after Congress ended most functions of the Freedmen's Bureau, the cemetery was closed; and the property was returned to its original owners. Eventually, after the grave markers had rotted and ownership had transferred several times, the property was redeveloped for commercial use. During its five years of operation, about 1800 contrabands and freedmen were buried in the cemetery.
Beginning in 1987, when memory of the cemetery was revived, the City of Alexandria began the process of saving the cemetery to create a memorial park. During 2008, submissions in a design competition for the memorial were received from 20 countries, and a design for the memorial was selected.