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Virginia fort commemorates critical chapter in Civil War, slavery
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
HAMPTON, Va. — The beginning of the end of slavery in the South is being commemorated at Fort Monroe.
Saturday's events at the historic Hampton military outpost mark the 150th anniversary of a decision by three runaway slaves to seek out the Union stronghold rather than remain enslaved.
The three rowed from Sewell's Point in Norfolk to Fort Monroe, where a Union general refused to return the slaves to their masters. He declared them contraband of war.
Historian William B. Wiggins told the Times-Dispatch of Richmond the actions by the three men forced the North to take a stand on slavery.
By the end of the war, the area around Fort Monroe was home to a community of 10,000 former slaves.