Alexandria to buy Freedom House Museum

The Freedom House Museum, located at 1315 Duke St. in Alexandria, Virginia, went up for sale in October. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, file)

The City of Alexandria, Virginia, reached an agreement with the Northern Virginia Urban League last week to purchase the historic Freedom House Museum for $1.8 million.

The building, located at 1315 Duke St., went up for sale in October.

“Preserving sites like Freedom House and making them accessible to the public are vital parts of the effort to connect the stories of our past to our present day conversation about race and equity, and ensure we are telling a broader, more candid account of Alexandria and our nation’s history,” Mayor Justin Wilson said in a Monday news release.

“The city plans to enlist partners to help us restore the building and expand the exhibits to tell the story of the domestic slave trade and those who were enslaved.”

The building, built in 1812, was once part of the headquarters for the largest domestic slave trading firm in the U.S.: the Franklin and Armfield Company, which used it as a slave pen from from 1828 to 1836. An estimated 1,800 slaves were sent each year to Louisiana and Mississippi from the building.

Other slave traders operated in the building until 1861, when Union troops arrived.

The location was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1978.

“The Northern Virginia Urban League is pleased to reach this agreement with the city to place Freedom House in the public trust and ensure its important story will continue to be told,” Diane McLaughlin, chair of the NVUL board of directors, said in the release.

“The League will continue to focus on its primary mission to enable minorities and other disadvantaged communities to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights.”

The museum itself remains open to the public Fridays and Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m.

More information is available at alexandriava.gov/FreedomHouse.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

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