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  • Gulf Islands National Seashore News Release: Fort Barrancas Area Recognized as Underground Railroad

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    April 26, 2021
    Release Date: April 26, 2021
    Contact: Stephenie Wade,  Stephenie_Wade@nps.gov, 850-939-7952
    Fort Barrancas Area Recognized as Underground Railroad Site
    GULF BREEZE, Fla.—Fort Barrancas Area was accepted into the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom on April 23, 2021. Located on Naval Air Station Pensacola, the 64.06-acre Fort Barrancas Area is managed by Gulf Islands National Seashore.
    The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom is a federal program that commemorates the stories of the men and women who risked everything for freedom and those who helped them. It honors, preserves, and promotes the history of resistance to enslavement through escape and flight worldwide.
    “Fort Barrancas Area preserves powerful and emotional Underground Railroad stories,” says Acting Superintendent Darrell Echols. “These hidden stories show how enslaved Black people actively dismantled slavery and challenged systemic racism in our nation.”
    The Barrancas joins 16 new listings from the 41st round of Network to Freedom applications, representing sites, programs, and facilities in nine states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
    Fort Barrancas Area, commonly called the Barrancas during the Civil War, became a destination for freedom seekers in 1863. At the Barrancas, the Union maintained a military post—which included the Spanish Water Battery, Fort Barrancas and Advanced Redoubt—for recruiting, training and staging white and Black soldiers. Some freedom seekers became soldiers in the United States Colored Troops, playing an important role in the fight to restore the Union and destroy slavery.
    Learn more about the history of Fort Barrancas and Advanced Redoubt.
    About Gulf Islands National Seashore: Created in 1971, the national seashore stretches 160 miles along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida and Mississippi, and includes barrier islands, maritime forests, historic forts, bayous, and marine habitat. Visit us at www.nps.gov/GulfIslands, on Facebook www.facebook.com/GulfIslandsNPS, Twitter www.twitter.com/GulfIslandsNPS, and Instagram www.instagram.com/GulfIslandsNPS.
    About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.