But to help secure money for the memorial’s lasting endowment, as well as educational programming that goes with it, Richmond-based Underground Kitchen is hosting Healing, Hope & Freedom, a multi-course public dining event at Fort Monroe on Friday, Sept. 10. Tickets are $500 per person, with $250 of that going to the Fort Monroe Foundation to support the African Landing Memorial.
Already an national monument, Fort Monroe was named a UNESCO Slave Route Project site in February 2021.
“This is a real direction that Virginia is going in, to be honest and straightforward about our history,” said Glenn Oder, Fort Monroe Authority executive director, earlier this month. “It’s not new history, it’s just history that hasn’t been told before [because] shamefully, the country wasn’t ready for this story.”
The tide, however, is changing, he said.
“One day the earth tilted a little more than usual, the tide’s gone out a lot farther…and we’re seeing history that we’ve never seen before,” Oder said, except that in reality, “it’s always been there.”
Oder said he and his colleagues have a “generational responsibility” to tell the stories of those first Africans, stories that, seemingly until now, were overshadowed or outright ignored within historic accounts of Old Point Comfort – the site where Fort Monroe was completed in 1834 – and in general, Virginia’s history. As a military installation, for decades, much of the fort’s history – as noted in the fort’s Casemate Museum – pertained to its military operations, not necessarily the fort’s place in history pertaining to slavery or the significance of the land on which it stands.
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