Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hotel DeAfrique

In  August, 2012, I wrote about the 1861 "Hotel DeAfrique" on Roanoke Island. In honor of National African American Heritage Month (February), I am republishing that post, with some minor changes.


It is not widely known that 880 troops of the Union Army, Navy, and Coast Guard attacked and defeated Confederate forces at Fort Clark and Fort Hatteras August 28 & 29, 1861, securing for Federal forces their first victory of the American Civil War.

Immediately afterwards a number of slaves made their way to Hatteras for protection. They quickly erected housing which was dubbed "Hotel DeAfrique." In 1863 a much larger "Freedman's Colony" was established by military order on Roanoke Island. At one time the population of the colony reached 3,000 residents, and included a sawmill, a fishery, and schools. A number of descendants of the original colony live on Roanoke Island today.

Following is a sketch and paragraph about Hotel DeAfrique, from the February 15, 1862 issue of Harper's Weekly:

Hotel DeAfrique

 "[This photo] depicts the Hotel d'Afrique, a building erected near Fort Hatteras for the reception of contrabands [during the American Civil War "contraband" referred to a black slave who escaped to or was brought within the Union lines.]. There are upward of forty there now."

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is about the almost forgotten 1890 "Oyster Wars" that pitted islanders against outside business interests. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012115.htm.

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