Pursuit of Freedom with Kevin Bryant

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. In this History Talk Kevin Bryant, Park Ranger at Capital Parks East, will discuss Frederick Douglass and the development and recruitment of the United States Colored Troops.


Kevin Bryant is a Park Ranger at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington, D.C. He has worked for the National Park Service for seven years, spending the last five at the Douglass Home. A native of Illinois, Kevin holds two Master’s Degrees and is a frequent guest on documentaries, podcasts, and all things related to Frederick Douglass.


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


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

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

ELC, Virtual (Zoom)