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Overflowing Popularity Leads to Extended Tours of the Freedom House Museum

The Freedom House building at 1315 Duke St. was originally built around 1812 as a residence for General Robert Young, commander of Alexandria’s militia who died in 1824. This three-story brick building then became the headquarters for one of the largest slave traders in America. (File photo)

ALEXANDRIA, VA–Due to the popularity of the Saturday tours in February, the Office of Historic Alexandria and the Northern Virginia Urban League are excited to continue their collaboration. On Saturdays and Sundays, Freedom House Museum will be open from 1-5 p.m. The Museum will be open expanded hours starting March 22. Admission is $5 per person. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

The Freedom House Museum was once the headquarters and holding pen for the largest domestic slave trading firm in the United States, Franklin and Armfield. Enslaved people were brought from the Chesapeake Bay area and forced to the slave markets in Natchez, Mississippi and New Orleans either by foot or ship. After Franklin and Armfield vacated the building in 1836, James Birch, the trader who had sold Solomon Northup, author of Twelve Years a Slave, in Washington DC moved his operation into the building in 1858. Birch and his partner used the building as their headquarters until 1861, when the city was occupied by the Union Army.

Admission includes a powerful exhibit in the basement of the building, which was once part of a larger complex used by the slave trading firm Franklin and Armfield. Through first-person accounts of enslaved men and women and details from the business, encounter the harsh reality of the domestic slave trade and Alexandria’s role.

The building is currently owned by the Northern Virginia Urban League and together with the Office of Historic Alexandria, we invite you to visit the museum in this historic reminder of slavery.

Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

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