Courtesy Hampton History Museum/Library of Congress
The Group Travel Leader
Published September 01, 2017
HAMPTON, Virginia — The exhibition “Give Me Liberty: Fugitive Slaves and the Long Revolution Against Slavery,” which opened at the Hampton History Museum on February 25, explores the lives of more than 30 fugitive slaves from Hampton who escaped to freedom or fought against their enslavers during periods of war.
The exhibit focuses on the Black Loyalists during the American Revolution, refugees during the War of 1812 in Hampton who achieved liberty by joining forces with the British Army and Navy and Hampton’s Contrabands, who escaped to Union-held Fort Monroe during the Civil War.
Artifacts include the swivel gun from the HMS Liberty, a vessel that played a key role in the 1775 Battle of Hampton; a door lock, key set, ceramics, axe head, scissors and toothbrush from the residences of black refugees in Nova Scotia; and a U.S. Navy button and tools discovered during archaeology of the site of Hampton’s Grand Contraband Camp in 2014.
The exhibit also features several interactive elements. Visitors can try their hand at playing a snare drum after watching a video demonstration while a cipher wheel offers visitors the opportunity to decode and create secret messages, as fugitive slaves often acted as spies on both sides.
“Give Me Liberty: Fugitive Slaves and the Long Revolution Against Slavery” continues through February 25, 2018.