Harper's Weekly Sketch of Freedmens Village

In 1863, the Arlington estate become home to thousands of emancipated slaves who had fled to Washington for their safety, and in search of work. Freedmens Village, a camp of former slaves, was established south of the mansion. The village was intended to be a place of temporary refuge. Residents were to receive federal assistance, and education and training.

Over the years, many freed men, including former Custis slaves, established permanent homes there. Over time, tensions in the village escalated, as the government rents and labor requirements increased. By 1900, public opinion had turned against Freedmens Village, resulting in closure.

Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial