Taut free verse tells the little-known story of the
first contraband camp of the Civil War—seen by some historians as the “beginning
of the end of slavery in America.”
One night in 1861, three escaped slaves made their
way from the Confederate line to a Union-held fort. The runaways were declared “contraband
of war” and granted protection. As word spread, thousands of runaway slaves
poured into the fort, seeking their freedom. These “contrabands” made a home
for themselves, building the first African American community in the country.
In 1863 they bore witness to one of the first readings of the Emancipation
Proclamation in the South—beneath the sheltering branches of the tree now known
as Emancipation Oak. Download and start listening now!