Searching for Descendants of the Alexandria Freedmen Cemetery

Over 1700 African Americans are buried at the “Alexandria Freedmen Cemetery” located at Church and Washington Street in Alexandria, VA. These African Americans were contraband of the Civil War. They fought, walked, and ran from their slave owners to areas that provided them safety. Freed African Americans were also at risk during the Civil War and many of them found the same safety net as the slaves. For more information on the Alexandria Freedmen Cemetery, go to the “The Friends of Freedmen’s Cemetery” site at

In April 2008, the City of Alexandria, Virginia asked me to assist them in locating descendants of the Alexandria Freedmen Cemetery.

The City wants to recognize the descendants of the Freedmen Cemetery. Please go to the Alexandria Archaeology Museum’s web site that discusses the Contrabands and Freedmen’s Cemetery Memorial at

As of 2008, I have identified the descendants of over one hundred people who are buried at the Freedmen Cemetery. I am still looking for descendants. If you have more than four generations of your family from Alexandria, Virginia and your surname is on this list, please contact me through my blog e-mail address The City of Alexandria is building the Contrabands and Freedmen’s Cemetery Memorial. It is going to be a great Ceremony honoring the former Contrabands and their Descendants.

The Ceremony will be in the Spring of 2014. If you want to be counted as a Descendant, please notify me. Thanks!

Vote Now! – Deadline to Vote is August 6, 2012


Artist #1 – Mario Chiodo

Three sculpture artists have bidded for the assignment of designing a sculpture for the Freedmen Cemetery. Please view the three artists and vote.

The three Artists finalist are: Mario Chiodo, Oakland, CA; Edward Dwight, Denver, Colorado; and Erik Blome, Crystal Lake, Illinois.

Artist #2 – Edward Dwight





You must let your preference known by August 6 to the committee. The public committee will consider all the comments in making the final choice. The winner for the sculptor will be announced in September.

Artist #3 – Erik Blome

Please send your vote to all three e-mail addresses below. Select one of the three artists above.  Thanks!

Cheryl Anne Colton,
Acting Deputy Director or

In addition, to:

Dr. Pamela Cressey
Office of Historic Alexandria/Alexandria Archaeology

Be A Part of the Vote – Alexandria Freedmen Cemetery

Gas Station at South Washington and Church Street
(1001 South Washington Street)

As a child, I remember the Gas Station at the corner of South Washington and Church Street. Unknown to me and many others, that a Cemetery exists under that Gas Station. Today, the Gas Station is no longer there and the City of Alexandria now owns the property. In recognizing the many African Americans that were buried in the Freedmen Cemetery during the Civil War through 1868, the City is planning a Memorial Cemetery.

I hope like me, you would want to be a part of this unique event in history. The City is in its final stages of getting an artist to design the sculpture that will be placed at the Memorial Cemetery site. The three finalists for the bronze sculptures have submitted their models to be voted on; please do not miss this opportunity.

You can view the three model sculptures at the Durant Center:

Dr. Oswald Durant Memorial Center
1605 Cameron Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

You must let your preference known by August 6 to the committee. The public committee will consider all the comments in making the final choice. The winner for the sculptor will be announced in September.

Archaeology has been working on the Freedmen’s Cemetery since 1987. Viewing the various sculpture models and providing your input would be the final stage in the design of the Memorial—now under construction at 1001 S. Washington Street. I hope you will be able to view the models and express your opinion!

Web site discussing the competition guidelines and the three finalists:

Web site discussing the exhibit of the models:

For additional information, please contact Dr. Pamela J. Cressey at


Special Announcement of Freedmen’s Cemetery Sculpture

An Opportunity to Participate in the Freedmen’s Cemetery Sculpture

The three artist finalists are busy working on their proposals for the Freedmen’s Cemetery sculpture. The Selection Panel has requested that the artists consider using descendant families as models for the figures. The Office of the Arts would like to gather digital photographs of the descendant families to provide to the artists. If you have existing photographs of grandparents, great-grandparents, or great-great grandparents, the Office is interested in scanning or taking pictures of them so they can be sent to the artists. Additionally, if you or another member of your family is interested in serving as a model, the Office of the Arts staff will be happy to photograph you. Interested descendants may contact Irene Dellet, Alexandria Commission for the Arts intern, at: 703-746-5588 or email by Monday, June 18. Irene will also be following up with phone calls to the descendant families. If you are interested in participating, you may bring your photographs to the Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron Street, by June 18 or make arrangements for Office of the Arts staff to come to your home. Durant Arts Center hours: Monday – Thursday 9am – 10pm; Friday 9am – 5pm.

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