Pursuit of Freedom with Dr. Lindsey Bestebreurtje

On May 23, 1863, Shepard Mallory, Frank Baker, and James Townsend, three enslaved men, arrived at Fort Monroe, Virginia, seeking freedom. The men were met by U.S. Army General Benjamin Franklin Butler who commanded the fort. Butler refused the request by a Confederate colonel demanding their return and labeled the freedom seekers as contraband — property to be used by the enemy against the Union. Following Butler’s decision, thousands of enslaved African Americans flocked to Fort Monroe and other U.S. Army camps throughout the south in the pursuit of freedom.


The actions of Mallory, Baker, Townsend, and Butler in addition to the thousands of formerly enslaved men, women, and children seeking emancipation transformed the Civil War from a conflict between the states into a struggle for freedom.


Dr. Lindsey Bestebreurtje will discuss “Freedman’s Village: African American Community Building, Reconstruction, and Remembrance at Arlington National Cemetery.” In this History Talk learn about the Freedmen’s Bureau and its relationship to the U.S. Army.


Lindsey Bestebreurtje, Ph.D. is a Curatorial Assistant at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Before joining the NMAAHC team in 2015, she worked in the field of Public History at diverse Washington, D.C. area institutions, including the National Park Service and the Historic American Landscape Survey. Bestebreurtje is passionate about museum education, believing in the decolonization of information with the aim to expand inclusion in the historical narrative.


Register for the VIRTUAL History Talk on April 19 at 12 p.m. ET


Register for the IN-PERSON History Talk on April 19 at 12 p.m. ET

April 19, 2023 @ 00:00
12:00 am — 12:45 am (45′)

ELC, Virtual (Zoom)