Old Woman Writing A Letter with a soldier - alt
Operation Gladio - alt
Class from Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va., looking at cannon at Fort Monroe
Horse cart driver Black & White Photo
Fishing in Banda Islands, 17th century - alt
A Flight of Golden Wings - lat

Illuminating Shadows Project

Shining a light on those whose stories have been neglected in the shadows of history.

Fort Monroe – and Old Point Comfort – has a robust history, which has often been told through a lens of military history, primarily featuring white men and typically officers in the Army. Today we work to expand this narrative, sharing the significance of this land to many diverse communities. This particular project shares the stories of the many Black people, both free and enslaved, who constructed the walls of the Fort, served in the military as soldiers or civilians, were employed through private enterprise, or lived and grew up on Old Point Comfort from 1619 to the present. Stories will be added as we continue to learn, and this project will grow indefinitely.

While it is unlikely we will ever be able to identify every Black person and their contribution to the history of Old Point Comfort, we will continually update this database. Feel free to search for names you already know, but also take the time to browse this database by name and time period to learn about others’ contributions. And don’t forget to keep returning as the stories of many more become available.

We must acknowledge, however, that these stories are not new. They have survived and been passed down through the ages in community archives. Our role is to share them as widely as possible, so that everyone knows the importance of these contributions to our history. This database would not be possible without the help of our many partners in sharing their knowledge, and if you would like to share additional stories, please reach out to us. Together, we can continue to make history.

Submit a Story

Help us tell the story! Are we missing a name and biography? Click here to share what you know and we’ll add it to the database!

Submit a Story  

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