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Old Town’s African American History

In-Person Program

Weekend Tour

Sunday, September 18, 2022 - 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1CSB05
Tour meets at 1315 Duke St, Alexandria, VA
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Materials for this program

Freedom House Museum, former office of slave trader Franklin and Armfield (Dmadeo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL )

Please Note: Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for participation on all tours; additionally, current CDC and Smithsonian COVID-19 guidelines (at the time of the tour) will be followed, including but not limited to masks on the bus and indoors.

Founded in 1749, Alexandria, Virginia, was a major American port that was home to both the country’s largest slave-trading firm and to a large free Black community. Local guide and historian John Chapman leads a walking tour of the city’s OId Town neighborhood that takes in sites connected to this history.

Begin in front of the Freedom House Museum where the office of Franklin and Armfield—notorious slave traffickers in antebellum Alexandria—was housed. Stop along the Duke Street corridor at the site of the Bruin’s Slave Jail, which played a part in the story of the Edmonson sisters who had tried to escape to freedom on the schooner The Pearl.  A bronze sculpture of the sisters, who were eventually freed, marks this historic site.

Along the way, visit sites connected to early African American spirituality such as Shiloh Baptist Church, one of Alexandria’s original African American churches, and the Alexandria National Cemetery, formerly known as the Soldiers’ Cemetery, where more than 250 members of the United States Colored Troops are buried.

Additional Date Options

General Information

  • Registration for this tour will end by 2 p.m. ET on Friday, September 16, 2022.
  • Each tour is 2 hours in length and meets at 1315 Duke St., Alexandria.
  • Street parking is available in the neighborhood surrounding the starting location.
  • For additional tour information: