Wednesday, February 21, 2024

W&M grad shines light on Virginia waterways’ Underground Railroad in new book

Cassandra Newby-Alexander’s new book Virginia Waterways and the Underground Railroad. (Courtesy of Hampton CVB)

Early next year, William & Mary alumna Cassandra Newby-Alexander will present her newest book, “Virginia Waterways and the Underground Railroad” at the Hampton History Museum.

In it, Newby-Alexander, a Norfolk State University professor, explains how enslaved Virginian’s searched for freedom using Virginia waterways. As part of the Underground Railroad, these waterways were home to watermen who assisted escaped slaves making 19th century Norfolk a “haven for freedom seekers.”

Newby-Alexander’s talk is part of the Hampton History Museums’ Port Hampton lecture series and the “Give Me Liberty: Fugitive Slaves and the Long Revolution Against Slavery” exhibit. Focusing on the time between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, the exhibition investigates the lives of 30 Hampton slaves who escaped using Virginia waterways before taking up arms against their enslavers.

Newby-Alexander is a Norfolk native who received her B.A. from the University of Virginia and her Ph.D. from The College of William & Mary. She is the director of the Joseph Jenkins Roberts Center for the African Diaspora and an author of many publications. Her work can be found in books and biographical series and she has appeared on national television, including The History Channel and C-SPAN.

Museum members may attend the Jan. 8 talk for free. The cost is $5.00 for non-members. The Hampton History Museum is located at 120 Old Hampton Lane in downtown Hampton. A free parking garage is across the street from the museum. For more information call 757-727-1102.


Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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