Chesapeake Conservancy Welcomes UNESCO Designation for Fort Monroe

Annapolis, MD – Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO Joel Dunn issued this statement following Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s announcement that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated Fort Monroe as a Site of Memory Associated with the UNESCO Slave Route project.

“The landing of the White Lion at Point Comfort 400 years ago, marking the arrival of the first enslaved African people on these shores set our nation on a tragic course to slavery – a painful history and legacy which continues to reverberate in all corners of our society today.

“It is imperative that the truth be told, and that this and future generations will never neglect the call to secure justice for everyone in our society.

“The UNESCO designation will help our nation and the world to remember this history and legacy, shining a spotlight on our nation’s truth and the resiliency of those who continue to confront these injustices even to this day.

“Within the Chesapeake watershed there are many sites in addition to Fort Monroe that help to interpret Black history and educate the public, such as the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, Hampton National Historic Site, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, just to name a few.

“This is our nation’s history, and this is very much our Chesapeake history. Thank you to Governor Northam, UNESCO, and the many community supporters who made this important designation possible.”