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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Tour to the Arlington House - the Robert E. Lee Memorial

August 18, 2011

Date: 08/18/2011 Location: Arlington, VA Description: Foreign media visit the Arlington House - the Robert E. Lee Memorial - State Dept Image

August 18, 2011; Washington, DC.
Contact: Washington Foreign Press Center Media Relations Officer Alison Mann
Telephone: 202-504-6362; email:

As part of a continuing series focusing on the Civil War, the Washington Foreign Press Center accompanied international media from China, Saudi Arabia, and Germany on an African American centric tour of Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial, operated by the National Park Service. Completed in 1818, Arlington House functioned as a complex society comprised of owners and slaves for nearly 60 years. Brought to Arlington by the site’s original owner, George Washington Custis (Martha Washington’s grandson), slaves built and sustained the house and grounds until their emancipation in 1862. Journalists also learned the history of the African American presence on Arlington’s cemetery grounds, which continued after emancipation, with the creation of a federally-supported Freedman’s Village as a community for former slaves. Over the next 30 years, many freedmen established permanent homes there, attending school and learning trades.