Emancipation Oak and the Freedom Fort


Sunday, November 3rd at 2:00 pm

Emancipation Drive, Hampton

If you have never seen the Emancipation Oak or heard this part of the story of the African American people it's truly amazing.

The story of this tree and the "Freedom Fort", during our Civil War, conveys a courageous and resilient people who helped to forge our nation despite overwhelming obstacles. 

1861: With courage and bravery, the quest for freedom by Frank Baker, Sheppard Mallory, and James Townsend led to the Emancipation Proclamation and changed the fate of millions of African Americans.

Artists rendition of Baker, Townsend, and Mallory seeking asylum from Union General Benjamin Butler in 1861.

2010: The first African American United States President Barack Obama recalls Mary Smith Peake in his commencement speech at Hampton University.

 "There, beneath its branches by what was then a Union garrison, about twenty students gathered on September 17, 1861, taught by a free citizen in defiance of Virginia law, the students were escaped slaves prior nearby plantations who had fled to the fort, seeking asylum.”

Our History Hike goes into Memorial Church at Hampton University.