“Does the new Fort Curtis hold the same promise for us as it did for those slaves that were freed through the efforts of the original Fort Curtis some 150 years ago?” asked Federal Judge Brian Miller, who offered his reflections on Civil War Helena at the gala dedication ceremony held on the site of the replica fort.

Between 200 and 250 people attended the ceremony during the lunch hour Friday. The event featured short speeches, a special flag ceremony and re-enactors dressed in period costumes.

Miller made a moving speech the day following the loss of his father Dr. Robert Miller, who served as the first African American mayor of the Helena community. Miller is a fourth generation Helena native, whose great grandfather Abraham H. Miller was born a slave and came to Helena with his mother during the Civil War.