Historian works to ‘humanize those enslaved’ at Fort MonroeHistorians in the News
tags: slavery, historians
A trove of historical records tells us Fort Monroe in Hampton was built on the backs of thousands of African slaves.
But little was known about their identities or who they were — until now.
Meet Amos Henley, 23. Skilled, but unpaid for his efforts, Henley was among hundreds leased out by slave owners to the Army — and fetching a tidy sum for them. They labored between 1820 and 1824 during the days when the foundation of the stone fortress was laid.
Henley, who worked on a barge crew daily from sunrise to sunset, died in 1821 during an accident while hauling stone with a windlass crank at Old Point Comfort.
Notably, there is a primary record of his story and other slave laborers that include first and last names — significant because it was created in a register some 50 years before the first African Americans (except for free blacks) were counted in a U.S. Census.
The register, handwritten entries in two books, is the subject of a recently published paper, “Humanizing the Enslaved of Fort Monroe’s Arc of Freedom,” written by Casemate Museum historian W. Robert Kelly.
comments powered by Disqus
- Tom Engelhardt Writes Personal and Historical Essay: Turning 75 in the Age of Trump
- Historian Drew Gilpin Faust Pens Personal and Historical Essay: "Race, History, and Memories of a Virginia Girlhood"
- WBUR Is Belatedly Giving Credit to a Female Historian for a Segment
- Behind the men on the moon, there were thousands of women
- Professor Rebecca Gordon Pens Essay Revealing Her Abortion and Examines Ongoing History of Roe v. Wade