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.