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May 24 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
On May 24th, 2023 at 7pm at the historic Chapel of the Centurion at Fort Monroe, the
Contraband Historical Society will bring together local “Contraband” descendants with a
3rd-great-grandson of Major General Benjamin Butler. The Society annually commemorates this
date in 1861, when local enslaved men Frank Baker, Shepard Mallory and James Townsend
fled to Fort Monroe and requested asylum. Their actions inspired Butler to make a bold decision
that day, to grant them sanctuary. As a result, Fort Monroe and Hampton became a haven for
thousands of runaways in their fight for self-emancipation during the Civil War.
The May 24th program, which is free to the public, also includes:
● Attorney and genealogist Bessida White, who recently discovered her own
● Living history reenactor Richard Scott, who appears as General Butler
● Historian Dr. William Wiggins who appears as Congressional Medal of Honor recipient
Sgt. Major Christian Fleetwood
● Apostle Harriet Askew singing “Go Down, Moses”
● Dance program by Tyshawna Webb and the Built to Worship Dance Group.
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