Group works to preserve Va slave cemetery site

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The lonely tombstone of U.S. Colored Cavalryman Nelson Ballard stands near a parking lot at Sentara CarePlex and is often missed by passers-by.

But according to the Contraband Historical Society, the tombstone is part of a cemetery site for slaves that marks an important chapter in the history of Hampton and the United States.

The society is stepping up its efforts to secure a cemetery on the grounds of Sentara CarePlex hospital as a public memorial to the slaves who supported the Union Army's victory in the Civil War.

The society believes the graves of more than 50 slaves or freed slaves are on the site of the former Downey Farm that dates back to 1636.

Elois Morgan, the program director of the Contraband Historical Society, said the society is looking to renew efforts to secure the cemetery as a park this year as Hampton celebrates its 400th anniversary year....

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