Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Future of Fort Monroe: How to Get Involved!

Many of you have probably read about the imminent closure of Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia and the possibility of converting the property into a National Park or National Monument.  Craig Swain at To the Sound of the Guns did a good piece on the importance of this historic site a couple weeks ago.  The National Trust for Historic Preservation has also posted an excellent fact sheet on the fort.  This site, which is rich in U.S. history, deserves to be preserved for present and future generations of Americans. 

I would like to alert readers to two opportunities to weigh in on the fate of Fort Monroe.  First, the National Trust has posted an on-line petition to President Obama that asks him to use his legal authority under the Antiquities Act to designate Fort Monroe as a National Monument.  Second, the National Park Service is soliciting public comments on a special website.  I would urge you to sign the petition and to submit your comments to the National Park Service.  Your voice can help make a difference in ensuring the preservation of Fort Monroe as part of the National Park system.

Aerial view of Ft. Monroe today (courtesy of National Trust for Historic Preservation)

"Slaves Entering Sally Port of Fort Monroe," Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, June 8, 1861 (courtesy of Virginia Historical Society's Blog).  Fort Monroe was the site of Gen. Benjamin Butler's determination to treat slaves who had escaped to Union lines as "contraband" of war.  Following this decision, thousands of slaves flocked to the safety of Union lines around Fort Monroe.

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