contrabandcampThe Arlington Historical Society (AHS) will host Ron Baumgarten, who will present “Civil War Contraband Camps of Northern Virginia” at its public program on Thursday, April 9.

Thousands of slaves fled to Washington in search of freedom during the first few years of the Civil War. As the number of “contrabands” grew, their living quarters became increasingly overcrowded and unsanitary. Seeking to address these problems, the Union Army relocated freedmen and women to abandoned secessionist properties in Arlington and Fairfax during the spring of 1863. Baumgarten’s talk will explore the history of these long-forgotten contraband camps, including economic, social, military, and political dimensions. His presentation will also offer some insights into where the camps were located in Northern Virginia.

Ron Baumgarten was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and resides in Ashburn, Virginia, with his wife and three children. He holds a B.A. from American University and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law. Ron writes the blog, All Not So Quiet Along the Potomac, which examines Civil War history in and around Northern Virginia. He has also lectured extensively on local Civil War topics. When not reading, writing, and speaking about the Civil War, Ron works for the U.S. government in the field of international trade.

The hour-long program will begin at 7:00 p.m. at Marymount University (2807 N. Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207). The talk will be held in the Reinsch Library auditorium. Note that this is a seasonal change-of-venue from Arlington Central Library; AHS programming will return to the library in May 2015. The program is free and open to the public. For additional AHS information, please contact 703-942-9247.

For those who take public transit: A free shuttle bus provided by Marymount University is available from the Ballston-MU Metro Station (Orange and Silver lines). The University is also accessible via Metro bus routes 23A and 23T; exit at the N. Glebe Road and Old Dominion Drive stop.

For those who drive: Marymount University provides free parking. Attendees should enter the main entrance gate (located at N. Glebe Road and Old Dominion Drive) and park in the main lot in front of The Lodge. If that lot is full, visitors may also park in the White Garage, located next to the Reinsch Library, or the Blue Garage, located under Ostapenko Hall. The Security Station at the main entrance can help direct where to park.

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