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Edmonson Sisters Memorial Statue

  • Address:
    1701 Duke Street
    Alexandria, VA 22314
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Mary Edmonson (1832–1853) and Emily Edmonson (1835–1895), were African Americans who became celebrities in the United States abolitionist movement after gaining their freedom from slavery. On April 15, 1848, they were among the seventy-seven slaves who tried to escape from Washington, DC on the schooner The Pearl to sail up the Chesapeake Bay to freedom in New Jersey. With letters from Washington-area supporters, Paul Edmonson met Henry Ward Beecher, a young Congregationalist preacher with a church in Brooklyn, New York who was known to support abolitionism. Beecher's church members raised the funds to purchase the Edmonson sisters and give them freedom. Accompanied by William Chaplin, a white abolitionist who had helped pay for the Pearl for the escape attempt, Beecher went to Washington to arrange the transaction. Mary Edmonson and Emily Edmonson were emancipated on November 4, 1848.