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Memories of and hopes for Fort Monroe

August 23-25, 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in North America.

They arrived at Fort Monroe, Virginia, a place where I lived in junior high. Our house was inside the moat. I loved climbing the hill behind my house and looking at the moat. It was the only fort left in the U.S. that actually had water in its moat. I used to walk through the sally port and across the pedestrian bridge (in the photo by B.Payden Photography), unless, of course, my big brother was chasing me on our way to the school bus! Check out Payden’s Photography at:

Now, my 60-year-old memories are changed forever by this knowledge of the beginnings of European enslavement of Africans in the New World. I am deeply sorry to all those who were affected by this gruesome time in our history.

And I look forward to ongoing future commemorations honoring the many roles African men and women filled in building America—clearing the land, tilling the plantations, harvesting the crops, building the structures, developing solutions to difficult problems the new world presented, and so much more.

My hope is that their stories, along with stories of privation of the African population, will be told in American history classes across the country, so we will all have a deeper understanding of our history. And a commitment Never Again to Allow It Happen.

Special Memories of a Special Time

My first and only son was born in the hospital on Ft. Monroe in 1963. My husband had just shipped out suddenly for Germany and I was left to transport myself from our apartment in Hampton to the fort hospital as I went into labor the next day after his leaving. Needless to say this left unforgettable memories of Ft. Monroe. That was one of the most enjoyable posts that we lived on in our 26 years of service and I am looking forward to again visiting Ft. Monroe this autumn.

My Favorite Place on earth ..and I have traveled extensively.

My history began when my mother would drive me along the seawall IN UTERO ..1937 and those adventures continued throughout my childhood and until I attended the decommissioning of my BELOVED and “sacred” Fort Monore, VA. I took some of my first steps around The Gazebo, then known as The Bandstand, held my first federal job at age 17 in 1954 the Civ Pers Ofc, and advanced to Post Engineers u leaving in 1968. I met my husband of 62 years while he was stationed there we, as full time RVers, camped at The Colonies where we were on 9/11, my husband had a heart attack at The Colonies in 2001 and so much more. I was working in Post Engineers the calls during the infamous PIGEON infestation and also worked during the Ash Wednesday Storm which was a sight to behold from the second story window of The Post Engineer Building. My history goes back 82 years and has left profound and unprecedented memories of both the military and civilian venues at Fort Monroe, Virginia.

My Favorite Home as a Child

I loved living on Ft. Monroe. We lived on post at 96 Ingalls Rd. from 1978-1981, which included the last year Ft. Monroe Elementary School was open. I loved walking or biking around the moat to the school; getting on the bus to go to Bassett for two years was not nearly as much fun. We spent a lot of time at the Scout Hut for Girl Scouts and at the Casemate Museum, where my mom was a docent. My favorite place on post by far was the band gazebo and sea wall by the Chamberlain Hotel. I used to walk down there to watch ships come in and go out, especially from Norfolk Naval Station. If I could tolerate the summers, I’d find a way to move back to Ft. Monroe when I retire—not to relive my childhood, but to keep building experiences in an amazing place full of history.

BUT: even though I had 4th grade Virginia history in a classroom 1/4 mile down the coast from Old Point Comfort (if that), I was in my 30s before I discovered its link to the sale and purchase of human beings in the slave trade. I consider that a sad commentary on our inability to address the worst aspects of our American heritage.

Great place to work

Early in our marriage my husband and I lived in Newport News (1975), he worked at the shipyard and I later found a job at Fort Monroe. Even though I only worked there for a short time (I found out I was pregnant with our son), I was excited to be able to say that I worked in the fort. I had visited the fort and liked the casemates. The office where I worked was inside the moated area and I remember having to drive over a small narrow bridge to get there. Also we spent an early anniversary at the Chamberlain Hotel. We loved their indoor salt water pool! My father was stationed for a short time at Fort Monroe early in my parents’ marriage too.

Thank You to Our 2017 Donors


The Fort Monroe Foundation is a 501c3 charitable organization that garners support for the mission and needs of Fort Monroe. The Fort Monroe Trustees, Foundation Directors and Staff gratefully acknowledge the generous support of the following donors who provided a total of $444,122 in 2017. Every attempt has been made to list donors accurately. For inquiries or corrections, please contact: Patti Ferguson, Fort Monroe Foundation, 757-637-7778.


We recognize gifts or pledges made toward the priority construction or preservation projects.

Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center

  • City of Hampton
  • Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Dominion Energy Foundation
  • National Park Service
  • Office of Economic Adjustment
  • The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation
  • Joyce S. Price Family Foundation
  • TowneBank


Jefferson Davis Memorial Park

  • Lucy Steele
  • United Daughters of the Confederacy
  • President Davis Chapter 2197
  • Caroline Grays Chapter
  • Border Rangers#2508
  • Great Granddaughters Virginia Division
  • Richmond Stonewall Jackson Chapter
  • J E B Stuart Chapter 156
  • Virginia Great Great Granddaughters Club
  • John G. Williams Sr. and Mary M. Williams


Commanding General’s House

  • Ann Partlow
  • Joyce Bush


Main Entrance Landscaping

  • Hampton Roads Garden Club

We recognize gifts to sustain or expand educational and public programs

Casemate Museum

  • Anonymous
  • The Chamberlin
  • CNU Lifelong Learning Society
  • Lynne Jennings
  • Phillip McCormick
  • William Nuckols Jr.
  • Joan Smith
  • Michael Terry
  • Elise Tolley
  • Warrant Officer Historical Foundation


Flags Over Freedom’s Fortress

  • Old Point Comfort Yacht Club


Marketing Communications Services

  • Howell Creative Group

We recognize sponsors of special events held at Fort Monroe

 Campfire Talk Series

  •  Colonies RV and Travel Park


Fourth at the Fort

  • Cox Communications
  • Hampton Convention and Visitor Bureau
  • NASA Langley
  • Youth Sailing Virginia


Music-by-the-Bay Concert Series

  • Veolia Water North America
  • Divaris Real Estate, Inc.
  • Kimley-Horn & Associates, Inc.
  • Old Point National Bank
  • Senex Law


The Ghost Walk: Where History Meets Mystery

  • Veronica Weymouth
  • Weymouth Funeral Home



We recognize these founding donors for their unrestricted gifts to support operations and programs across the site.


The Algernourne Society
recognizing gifts of $500 or more

  • William Armbruster
  • Colin G. Campbell
  • Vincent Cuda
  • Alan Diamonstein
  • Chip Dicks
  • William and Anne Hart
  • Destry Jarvis
  • Jay and Tara Joseph
  • Mr. and Mrs. W. Robert Kelly Jr.
  • Neal and Susan Lineberry
  • Delceno Miles
  • The Hon. James Moran
  • Lawrence and Kathy Myers
  • The Hon. Glenn and Mary Oder
  • Taylor Reveley III
  • Ward R. Scull
  • Robert E. Seger
  • Robert Shuford
  • Ret. Col. Anthony and Mrs. Patricia Soltys
  • David Stalfort
  • Mary Ellen Stumpf
  • Chuck Valliant
  • Michael Westfall
  • Jane Yerkes


Freedom Fellows
recognizing individuals’ gifts of $250 to $499

  • Charles and Joan Baker
  • William and Norma Harvey
  • Gregory Lawson
  • Sally Lazorchak
  • Evelyn (Kay) Perry
  • Bruce R. Sturk
  • Molly J. Ward
  • Jamie Weist

Centurion Circle
recognizing gifts of $100 to $249

  • Janice R. Allen
  • Anonymous
  • Marjorie Bain
  • Michael Berndt
  • Mary Bunting
  • Susan Collins
  • Michael P. Curry
  • Kathleen Elizabeth De Russy
  • Robert Doggett
  • Sue and Kevin Eley
  • Bob and Terri Feild
  • David Grimm
  • Thomas Hall
  • Douglas and Mindy Henderson
  • Norman and Barbara Hines
  • Mr. and Mrs. Kendall C. Jones
  • Mamie E. Locke
  • Terry McGovern
  • Al and Jan Miller
  • Lieutenant Colonel Barry A. Miller, USAF, Ret.)
  • David L. Morris II
  • Ronald E. Ponzar
  • Steve Ralph
  • Robin Reed and Patti Ferguson
  • John J. Reynolds
  • Gordon Rheinstrom
  • Charles Schwam
  • Marcia Scrivener
  • Tom and Sharon Sobieski
  • Steve Spaur
  • Wayne Sprinkle
  • Mark and Wendy Stephens
  • Jay Sweat
  • Mark F. Terry
  • Adrienne White
  • Jerry & Judy Wymore

Friends of the Fort
recognizing gifts up to $99

  • Helen and Warren Aleck
  • Jennifer Allen
  • Anonymous
  • Carol A. Baker
  • Connie Basnett
  • Laura Bayer
  • Kathleen Bowman
  • Hal Brauer
  • Yvonne Cash
  • Susan Collins
  • Dorothy Conley
  • Rachel Dancy
  • Denise Dooley
  • Colonel Donald G. Fendrick, USA, Ret.
  • Grace Frost
  • Veronica Gallardo
  • Terry Gearhart
  • Carlyle Gravely
  • Edna Griffenhagen
  • Elena Grose
  • Maria Halliday
  • Elynor (Dibba) B. Hamilton
  • David Hodor
  • Alan R. Hoffman
  • Raymond Holleran
  • Arthur Jensen
  • Martha Katz-Hyman
  • William Lowry
  • Jerry and Janice Markham
  • Lorraine Menard
  • Steve Morales
  • Jeri Ortiz
  • Jennifer Pattison
  • Shannon Ricles
  • Blanche D. Rollins
  • Terry and Carol Seas
  • Darcy Sink
  • Christine Soucy
  • Kevin Spence
  • David Spencer
  • Russell Steele
  • Larry Strauss
  • Mr. Noel Talcott Jr.
  • Phyllis Terrell
  • Cody Thomas
  • Bradley Todd
  • Judy Torrey
  • Cindi Townsend
  • Brenda Uyak
  • Claude Vann
  • Charles Webb
  • Lindsey Yarashes and Kippy Kyle

Fort Monroe will soon launch an Annual Fund program for Business and industry. We recognize these early donors.

Business Partners
recognizing unrestricted gifts of $500 or more

  • Metro Marine Fiber Networks, LLC
  • Oozlefinch Craft Brewery
  • Associates – gifts up to $499)
  • Amazon Smile Foundation
  • Bruce Currence Architect
  • WHRO Public Media


Matching Gifts

  • Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation



  • Centurion Interdenominational Church
  • Chapel of the Centurion
  • Peninsula Community Foundation


  • Charles Bryan
    Soucy Family
  • Colonel Edward G. Miller, USA, Ret.
    Lieutenant Colonel Barry A. Miller, USAF, Ret.
  • Walter and Alice Poznar
    Ronald E. Ponzar
  • Nina C. Terry
    Mark F. Terry



  • Samantha Hopson
    Douglas K. Henderson
  • Robert Kelly Jr.
    Charles Schwam
  • Robin Reed
    Martha B. Katz-Hyman
  • Dois and Shirley Rosser
    Janice Rosser Allen
  • Sharkie!
    Warren R. Scull
  • Michael E. Worthington
    Chip Dicks 


The Fort Monroe Foundation has invites donors to consider tax-wise planned gifts for current needs or for reserves or endowment for future needs.

Model policies for investment management have been established.    


For more information about ways you can give, please contact:

Fort Monroe Foundation

The Fort Monroe Authority Welcomes New Trustees

Dr. Edward L. Ayers
University Professor and President Emeritus

Edward Ayers is President Emeritus of the University of Richmond, where he now serves as Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities. Previously Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia, where he began teaching in 1980, Ayers was named the National Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2003.

A historian of the American South, Ayers has written and edited 10 books. The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In the Presence of Mine Enemies: Civil War in the Heart of America won the Bancroft Prize for distinguished writing in American history and the Beveridge Prize for the best book in English on the history of the Americas since 1492. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2013.

A pioneer in digital history, Ayers created “The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War,” a website that has attracted millions of users and won major prizes in the teaching of history. He serves as co-editor of the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States at the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab and is a co-host of BackStory with the American History Guys, a nationally syndicated radio show and podcast.

Ayers has received a presidential appointment to the National Council on the Humanities, served as a Fulbright professor in the Netherlands and been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.



Dr. Maureen G. Elgersman Lee
Associate Professor/Chair, Political Science and History

Dr. Maureen Elgersman Lee is currently Associate Professor of History and Chair of the Department of Political Science and History at Hampton University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French from Redeemer University College, as well as a master’s degree in African and African American Studies and a doctorate in Humanities, with a concentration in African American Studies, both from Clark Atlanta University.  She joined the Hampton University faculty in Fall 2013.

Dr. Elgersman Lee specializes in the history of Black women in Canada and the British Caribbean as well as in Black community history.  She is the author of two books: Unyielding Spirits: Black Women and Slavery in Early Canada and Jamaica (Garland/Taylor and Francis), and Black Bangor: African Americans in a Maine Community, 1880-1950 (University Press of New England). She is the author of various articles, most notably “ ‘What They Lack in Numbers’: Locating Black Portland, 1870-1930” in Joseph A. Conforti, ed., Creating Portland: History and Place in Northern New England (University Press of New England) and “Slavery in Early Canada: Making Black Women Subject,” in Mona Gleason and Adele Perry, ed., Rethinking Canada: The Promise of Women’s History, 5th ed. (Oxford University Press). For her work, Black Bangor,  Dr. Elgersman Lee received the Leadership in History Award of Merit from the American Association for the Study of State and Local History (AASLH) and the “Best of the Best of the University Presses—Outstanding Title” Award from the American Library Association (ALA).

Dr. Elgersman Lee regularly teaches the African American history survey as well as various upper level topics courses in Africana and women’s history.  She is currently working on a study of African Americans in Williamsburg, Virginia, after the Civil War.



Rex M. Ellis
Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs, National Museum of African American History and Culture

Rex M. Ellis has served as the associate director for curatorial affairs at NMAAHC since 2008. He has the responsibility for planning, developing, directing and managing all curatorial, collections, education and outreach programs and activities.

Before joining NMAAHC, Ellis was vice president of the Historic Area for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, where he oversaw all programs and operations. Ellis was the first African American vice president in the foundation’s history and served in that position for eight years (2001-2008).

He received his bachelor of fine arts from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Master in Fine Arts from Wayne State University, a Master of Divinity from Virginia Union University and a doctor of education from the College of William and Mary. He has contributed articles to such publications as Journal of American History, Colonial Williamsburg Journal, August House Publications and History News. He is the author of two books, Beneath the Blazing Sun: Stories from the African American Journey and With a Banjo on My Knee, which chronicles the history of black banjo players from the time of slavery to the present.

Ellis is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, American Association of Museums, American Association for State and Local History, National Association of Black Storytellers and the National Storytelling Association. He has served as consultant to organizations such as the Midland Independent school district in Texas, Los Angeles County School District and the National Constitution Center. He has also worked with various institutions in many countries around the world such as Africa, New Zealand, France and Israel.

His presentations, lectures, workshops and consultancies focus on public programming, diversity interpretation and African American history and culture. His interests also include the spoken word and early American history, with special emphasis on slavery.



John J. Reynolds

John J. Reynolds served 39 years in the National Park Service, including time as Deputy Director: Regional Director, Director Denver Service Center, Superintendent North Cascades National Park, Assistant Superintendent Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and park planner/landscape architect. He currently serves as a board member of the Presidio Trust, the Student Conservation Association, Chesapeake Conservancy, Global Parks and Shenandoah National Park Trust. Mr. Reynolds is the Commonwealth of Virginia Citizen Representative to the Chesapeake Bay Commission, member of North Cascades Institute Advisory Council, Chair of the Flight 93 National Memorial Federal Advisory Commission and the Captain John Smith National Historic Trail Advisory Council. He is also a past board member of the Landscape Architecture Foundation, George Wright Society, Yosemite Fund, Yosemite National Institutes, Association of Partners for Public Lands and past US Delegate to the World Heritage Committee. He has received Meritorious and Distinguished Service Awards from the Department of the Interior and the LaGasse Conservation Award and Fellow, American Society of Landscape Architects. His college degrees include BSLA, Iowa State University and MLA, State University of New York at Syracuse. Mr. Reynolds also served in the New Jersey National Guard and United States Army Reserve 1966-1972.