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Black History Report: Honoring Freedmen's Colony


Many have heard of the Lost Colony, but just recently the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources paid tribute to another colony on Roanoke Island.

Freedman's Colony of Roanoke Island was recently honored by the state with a road marker, forever marking its place in history.

During the Civil War, Union-occupied Roanoke Island became home to thousands of former slaves. Initially they settled near the Union headquarters, with the camp evolving into a government-sanctioned colony.

Virginia Tillett says, "When my cousin finalized the lineage of all of us, we found out that we're part of the original Freedman's that settled on Roanoke Island"

She says Freedmen, like many former slaves, had used the underground railroad and items like a quilt to lead the way to a better life. She says, "Each of these blocks would give them directions on which way to travel or it would tell them to stay hidden because it was not safe to travel."

Tillett says the colony consisted of houses, schools and churches.


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