The Contrabands and Freedmen’s Cemetery Memorial

  • Area:  45,000 sq. ft.
  • Location:  Alexandria, VA, United States
  • Year:  2016-10-15
  • Collaboration:  Architect Erica H. Ling, Sculptor Margaret Adams Parker

The Contrabands and Freedmen’s Cemetery Memorial, In Remembrance of Those Forgotten, will be a significant destination between Alexandria’s Freedom House Museum and the Slave Quarters at Mt. Vernon. The heart of this memorial is a sacred precinct, honoring the memory of more than 1,800 Contrabands and Freedmen buried here. Standing as the focus of both entrances is a bronze sculpture of a mother and father grieving for their child. The primary entrance opens onto a brick-paved walkway that traces the old cemetery carriageway, sloping gently to the precinct. Interpretive panels featuring historic photographs and documents define the eastern edge of a brick-and-stone-paved platform. Illuminating the site’s history, the panels highlight the courage and perseverance of the Contrabands and Freedmen while granite walls along the opposite edge of the platform are engraved with their names. The eastern edge overlooks the gravesites, which are marked by white marble squares. Shade trees, in planters with seating, offer shelter from the sun and the opportunity to rest and reflect. A wrought-iron fence encloses and protects the site, and conifers screen the bus drop-off and sound wall from view. The site’s western reaches remain open and are planted with native grasses and wildflowers. The Marshall Moya Design team, which includes architect Erica H. Ling and sculptor Margaret Adams Parker, was selected as one of six finalists in a field of more than two hundred entries.