This month, we join the National Park Service and park partners around the country to celebrate Black History Month. Your OBX National Parks are vitally important to Black history in the United States, and your park staff work diligently to ensure these stories are preserved and shared with generations to come. 

Nearly 160 years ago, men, women and children escaping the horrors of slavery crossed the swampy Albemarle/Croatan Sound in search of a safe haven. They found it in the newly established Freedmen’s Colony on Roanoke Island, which had been captured by Union troops in the Battle of Roanoke Island.

Recently, your OBX National Parks staff teamed up with CurrentTV to create a video remembering and honoring the members of the Freedmen’s Colony and their descendants.

“There are a lot of families who have ties to the Freedmen’s Colony and you can find people who can trace their lineage back to that time period. …We’re connected to the Underground Railroad network, we’re connected to the Reconstruction Era network, so the story of the Freedmen’s Colony on Roanoke Island is part of this much larger story that’s connecting places all over the eastern United States and connecting with this larger history.”                   -Elizabeth Hudick, North District Interpreter & Supervisory Park Ranger; Fort Raleigh National Historic Site & Wright Brothers National Memorial

If you’ve never visited Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and seen the First Light of Freedom Monument, we encourage you to do so the next time you visit the Outer Banks!