The City of Wilmington along with the African American Heritage Foundation, the Commission on African American History, Cape Fear Coast Convention and Visitors' Bureau and the New Hanover County Public Library unveiled a new information kiosk at the Orange Street Landing, located at the intersection of Orange and Water streets on the Wilmington Riverwalk in 2010.
The kiosk, entitled "Orange Street Landing on Cape Fear," marks the location dedicated in May 2005 by the National Parks Service as part of its National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program. This program marks historic sites, facilities and other programs associated with the underground railroad. The Orange Street location had the distinction of being the 200th commemorative underground railroad site to be listed in the network.
Wilmington's largest known escape took place in September 1862, when 22 freedom-seekers confiscated 3 sailboats at the foot of Orange Street and successfully rowed 28 nautical miles to the mouth of the Cape Fear River. During the escape, Union blockade ships provided the freedom-seekers with protection. The freedmen subsequently enlisted in the Union Navy. One of the slaves, William B. Gould, recorded the journey in a diary from October 13, 1863 through September 5, 1864.
Read this brochure to learn more about Wilmington's rich African-American heritage.