One of our most exciting new projects is the “Arc of Enslaved Communities.” Our goal is to create an interpretive National Trail through an area that extends from the historic port of Fredericksburg to the North, the Blue Ridge Mountains to the West, and the port of Richmond to the South.
The core of the Arc lies near the Southwest Mountains, in an historic region dense with communities responsible for pivotal events in American history. This 850-square mile area encompassed one of the highest concentrations of enslaved Americans during the formative years of the United States. These communities formed the socioeconomic, cultural, and intellectual backbone of a vital early American ecosystem conventionally known as the region of James Madison’s Montpelier and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. The centrality of slavery to this ecosystem, the histories of the enslaved, and their contributions to the founding era have been largely marginalized in historical interpretations.