“The National Trust for Historic Preservation is pleased to co-sponsor this important commemoration of American heritage. During the Civil War, 500,000 women, children, and men escaped slavery and secured their own freedom from bondage. As we remember the sacrifices endured 150 years ago, it is imperative that we recognize the extraordinary experiences of the so-called “Contrabands” who liberated themselves, influenced the national political debate about slavery, and hastened the formal Emancipation Proclamation.” -- Rob Nieweg, National Trust for Historic Preservation

“The NPS is in the business of connecting stories...history...and the places where they happened.  The image of fugitive slaves crossing the Rappahannock is iconic, and the chance to connect that image with the actual location, AND to bring people to that site, is compelling.  Beyond that, the story of slaves taking to foot in a quest for freedom is critical to the evolution of both the war, the nation, and the central Virginia region.  We expect the immediacy of the program on September 22 will do much to drive home the profound significance of what took place here in the summer of 1862.”
---John Hennessy, Chief Historian with the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
 “The course of history is not only shaped by the generals on horseback, commanding their armies; the courage exhibited by ordinary men and women is no less profound. With their crossing of the Rappahannock River in August 1862 — which presaged the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation a month later — these brave African Americans took fate into their own hands and became one link in the chain of events leading us from Civil War to Civil Rights.”
-- O. James Lighthizer, President of the Civil War Trust
“In this second year of commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, it is important to remember that there was, in addition to two great armies engaged in sweeping movements across the land, a third great force bringing about sweeping change. This event honors enslaved African American men, women and children who took their future as evidence of a force marshaled not by external command, but by the universal human imperative to seek freedom and self- determination.” ---Kathleen Kilpatrick, Director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources
I am honored to be a part of this special program highlighting a chapter in this region’s history—the ‘Crossing of the Rappahannock: A Pilgrimage to Freedom.’ This historic event, is both enlightening and inspiring. It captures the American desire for freedom and liberty, privileges we nurture in our hearts, even until today.” ---Dianne Swann-Wright, PhD

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