June 20 update: video of the talk can be found here.
The following is a speech delivered by Dr. Mark P. Leone as part of the Frederick Douglass statue dedication ceremony in Easton, Maryland on Saturday, June 18, 2011. Co-authors were Amanda Tang, Benjamin Skolnik, and Beth Pruitt.
Thank you to everyone who came, listened, and asked your thoughtful questions. Please feel free to continue the discussion we began there by leaving a comment here.
In the Shade of Frederick Douglass: The Archaeology of Wye House
“I have learned during the six years that my undergraduate students, graduate students, and I have been excavating at Wye House that we cannot improve on Frederick Douglass. His descriptions of slave life at Wye House in the 1820s have served its purpose. It was how I began to look for his observations archaeologically, however, that is what is important.
Because we are anthropologists, our ability is to take our excavated material and make a different image, one suitable to our needs now, and we must build on Douglass’s legacy of seeking freedom and recognition.
Our current task is to satisfy two modern needs, one plain and simply understood, one much less so. The obvious need is to write a history of Talbot County, the Eastern Shore, and the greater Chesapeake region that documents, creates, celebrates, and makes apparent the equal history made here by enslaved Africans and modern African Americans–and I don’t see any particular difference between the two, except a chronological one. This will be a big history, a full history, an early history, and a different history. This will take a long time, but it has begun. It began in the 1960s, with Sheppard Krech, went on with Boyd Gibbons, and continues with Harold Anderson. But the statue everyone sees today and which stands now uncontested, signals that this other history is ready to be acknowledged and written down.
The history that seems not so needed is just as needed. The time has passed here on the Eastern Shore for picture-book histories of lovely plantation facades, old boxwoods, nice water views, cornices, mantel pieces, lawns, and surviving well heads. Let’s agree to go beyond Henry Chandlee Forman, the Wye Oak, and very beautiful photographs. Let’s make a pact, together, that we who live and work here deserve the kind of detailed, vibrant, regional histories that people in England, Massachusetts,, Virginia–and Utah’s Mormons–give to themselves. Let’s use the vast, rich documentary record and the astonishingly intact 18th century archaeology here to know better where we sit, what we own, what patriotic acts occurred here, and what our earlier generations did for freedom. That’s what Mrs. Green wanted to know–how did we become free? It is not a journey in time. Therefore, let’s put aside for a while the picture of violence Douglass created. Not because it was wrong. It certainly was not. If we celebrate only Douglass for what he said about the Eastern Shore, there is no room for what else went on here, for what is going on now, and for what we, together, want it to become. The statue doesn’t point backwards to history. The statue points forward to discovering a past that was creative and that can be creatively used to say who we are and who we are becoming. So, that statue is for the next 50 years, not for the last, lost 150. It is time for a full, integrated history.
Everybody here knows that Wye House is amazing, awesome, wonderful, and generously run by Lloyd family descendants. Richard Tilghman said to me–and he actually did this–’Half of Talbot County has come here.’ And I’m saying, ‘on purpose.’
My point today, using anthropology, is to say that we can go beyond the uniqueness that draws us all to Wye House and use it as a model to make a set of discoveries that begins the newer and more general histories we know we need in order to see ourselves for who we have already become.
Everyone eats. That’s general. People grow food, cook it with recipes, and throw the remains out. All these processes leave archaeological remains and we have all of them from Wye House. The new picture involves native plants, medicinal plants, rare plants, African American gardening, what we can tell from discarded and excavated food bones, the pollen from the famous greenhouse, the Lloyd family’s 19th century cookbooks, and 18th century scientific gardening. We have a lot of information on the origins of Southern cooking and the use of the environment that helped to create it.
The general picture that Frederick Douglass always stressed was nationwide, even worldwide. He wanted freedom, the vote, democratic government. He was not just talking about Talbot County, the Eastern Shore, or Maryland. He was talking about everywhere, including a critique of institutional Christianity, and the vote for women. In this sense, he was a philosopher, and a scientist–and we’ve certainly heard that beautifully done both last night and this morning.
Food falls into a similarly large, general category. We grow. We cook. We eat. We discard the remains. Today, we have come so close to demonizing eating and food that we have made the topic trivial, sometimes even toxic. But it isn’t. Please–for the moment–put aside obesity, E. coli, potato chips, McDonald’s, Nestlé’s, and the hopelessness, the true hopelessness, of connecting agribusiness to cooking at home. Food isn’t that at all.
Food is central and we know it, but we do not know its origins. We have some of those origins in black/white relations at Wye House, and, by extension, at every plantation in this county, and around the Bay.
I want to begin with our analysis of pollen from the greenhouse at Wye. While the greenhouse is unique because it still stands, there were a lot of others that don’t. We excavated the rooms in the greenhouse and collected fossil pollen and had it analyzed. On this analysis, we begin to make our arguments about African American gardening, including uses of plants for food, for medicine, and for household utensils.
The greenhouse at Wye is no stranger to you, and you have seen many images of it. This mock-up was provided by the university, and it shows you in three-dimensional form what we think it looked like in the late 18th century, when it was built. We dug the building in two different phases, six months apart. Our major discovery in the first phase was to identify the northwest room on the back of the greenhouse as a place where a black family lived. It had broken dishes, buttons, sewing equipment, and a West African bundle at the door step, and bones from meals all buried in a level that dated from 1775-1820–which is when enslaved African Americans lived in a quarter on the backside of the greenhouse. There was a dirt floor, a big hearth, a loft, pegs along the back wall, and a small corner cupboard. The inexpensive, unmatching dishes and African spirit bundle are archaeological markers of slavery. Not absolutely, but likely.
We took pollen samples from the deeply layered floors of this quarter living space. We took lots of pollen samples from the main room of the greenhouse too. These were all analyzed for us at the University of Massachusetts, Boston by Dr. Heather Trigg, an archaeologist who is a palynologist—a palynologist is what we call someone who analyzes fossilized pollen.
There is very little pollen for citrus plants in the greenhouse until after the 1820s. Douglass saw oranges at Wye, but they were rare before his time. But from the beginning in the greenhouse there were pond lilies, water soldiers, and in the slave quarter, bananas and plantains. Pond lilies and water soldiers grow in tubs of water. But, we ask ourselves, what is plantain pollen doing in the greenhouse slave home in such significant quantities?
But it is the amazing array of plants that comes next that is the real news–and this is what I claim, and my students claim, the potential beginning of an understanding of the origins of African American gardening. Pollen from plants collected by enslaved people include blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, broccoli, and mustards. These all grow wild around here, but can be gathered and probably were. Then, there is Seneca snakeroot, buckbean, ginger root, arrowhead, arsmart, and phlox. These aren’t in your medicine chests anymore, but there was a time. These are all medicinal plants. Buckbean deals with diarrhea. Arrowhead is an analgesic and is used for gastrointestinal problems. One of these lifts depression; another is a cureall. Only where Africans lived is there scouring rush for cleaning and field horsetail used to fill mattresses and line floors. According to my colleague, Ywone Edwards-Ingram at Colonial Williamsburg, who did research on African American slave gardens in Virginia, some of these plants may represent ways in which the slaves took care of their own physical and spiritual well-being through traditional medicinal and cultural practices. During and after slavery, for example, the leaves of plantains were used to produce salves for the treatment of burns. Phlox, which includes a species of wild Sweet William, was considered a good luck charm, and carried in pockets. Weeds such as arsmart have been deliberately allowed to thrive in some gardens because of its medicinal value.
The pollen shows an environment full of edible plants and plants whose properties were long known here by Native Americans in the area. People who lived in the quarter knew, harvested, and used everything they understood in plant life. Now, here are the research questions: did Africans propagate, domesticate, and grow all these plants? The answer comes from either the old, Frederick Douglass history of the Eastern Shore, or the new history of the Eastern Shore inspired by the unveiling today. Either slaves had masters and obeyed, and were passive and were destroyed, or there is a life and a culture alive today that they made and we live out. It is the second that is true. Enslaved people made and used the environment.
We see in the actual greenhouse room many of these same foods and medicines. In 1775, we see pollen from the family that includes cherries, plums, apricots, and strawberries. There is also Seneca snakeroot. We also see water lilies. Then, from 1785 to 1795, after the heating system was introduced into the greenhouse, we see what we would expect, and this is the image we can all gather: lilies, crocus, geraniums, pinks, irises, oranges or lemons, but we also see: buckbean, strawberries, bananas: only a very few medicinal plants, and only some food. We see tropical plants and those forced into bloom early. But we have a picture of African American cultivation on one hand and European cultivation in the greenhouse in the 18th century on the other. There is more variety in the quarter because there is more plant food there and less in the greenhouse itself–and that’s just an observation.
The pollen analysis falls into a context at Wye House and American gardening in general at a time when American farmers and plantation owners were beginning what is still called scientific gardening. This practice was an experimental effort to match soils, plants, and climate. This was a part of the effort at Wye House from the 1770s on through the first half of the 19th century. It also produced a huge slave population, including Douglass.
Scientific gardening involved the transfer of plants around the European colonial world with two goals. One was to increase productivity and the other was to see what could be grown successfully where a species had not been grown before. Together, these two processes are sometimes known as Green Imperialism (Grove 1995), and it’s the imperialism part of it, the worldwide spread of plants for experimental purposes that Europe started that I want to call on now.
The transfer of plants throughout the Dutch, French, and English maritime worlds by boat featured two key elements both of which we see at Wye House and which I think also existed at all of the hundreds of plantations along the shores and rivers of Chesapeake Bay. One was a core of professional experts in plants and farming. The other was islands. The greenhouse can be seen as an island, by which Europeans mean a utopia, and by which in the 18th century Europeans did not necessarily mean something kind.
Frederick Douglass tells us that the Lloyds brought Mr. McDermott from Scotland as a scientific gardener. McDermott used four slaves to run the garden at Wye. Douglass describes the variety of plant foods at Wye and the extent of the gardens. This was mostly a food garden.
While we do not yet know much about McDermott, we do know that he was part of the worldwide exchange of seeds and live plants that strings together John Bartram of Philadelphia–who was a hero of the revolution–and the Quakers all along the East Coast, and that includes Quakers here in Easton, and of course at Tulip Hill, 20 or 30 miles west of here across the Bay. The string includes Kew Gardens, the book written by Stephen Bordley on Wye Island just to our north of here about how to design and build a rational plantation to maximize land, labor, and profit. Bordley was William Paca’s immediate neighbor on Wye Island where we excavated for four years and where we found archaeological evidence for the massive African American-built engineering efforts that go into building planned landscapes for showing plants and for controlling human labor. The string ends–and for me it began–in the library at Wye House with its illustrated copy of Phillip Miller’s Gardener’s Dictionary, maybe the most popular gardening and landscaping manual in the 18th century, English-speaking world. The Gardener’s Dictionary is an encyclopedia that explains how to run every aspect of a large planned landscape. While it was for formal gardening, it includes all the plant experiments needed for improving plant yields on any plantation.
Robert Grove, who is our guide here, points out that islands were often the first landfalls for European explorers and that they were easier to describe and colonize because they were so clearly bounded. Grove then points out how easily they were destroyed environmentally. He might also have pointed out how easily destroyed their native human populations were, too. Grove’s enduring point for us is that such islands in all the seas that Europeans sailed became a place for utopian ideas in literature and in missionary and farming reality, as well as a place to collect plants. A utopia is an ideal place completely under human control–and under human control, in this context, you should read from all points of view. Most utopias are islands, or so self-isolating, that they amount to being islands. The greenhouse is like a utopia.
The long promenade in the greenhouse room at Wye is a place for looking and inspecting the plants arrayed there. If people entered through the open, south-facing windows, which is how large citrus trees are now taken in and out for the change of seasons, then people walked on the tile floor that still runs the entire southern edge of the room. Now that we know some of what grew in this large room, we can visualize all these plants in pots, none in the ground, which appears not to have been cultivated, and these would have been grouped by species and ranked by height, and need for light and shade.
Imagine—because it happened—heat in the cold weather. The furnace in the greenhouse’s northeast room lead to an underground channel that ran along the east side, then under and in front of all the ten large south-facing windows, then along and up the west wall, and then rose to a height of five feet along the north, rear wall of the greenhouse, finally to go up the chimney as smoke and heat.
This is a big, tall room, almost two storys high. It could not have been overly heated and should not have been for the plants’ health. Some plants that left pollen need 45˚F and others 65˚F. Some need one temperature for survival, others a different and higher one for forcing. There was considerable temperature variation needed at any one time in the greenhouse and because there was only one source of heat, there must have been ways of arraying plants so that they got the right amounts. Crocus can be brought into flower early with warmth; oranges and lemons cannot be overheated or they will blossom before they should. So, we have a plant environment, a plant utopia, that is a complex system of plants and slaves who are not part of the utopia.
Drake Witte and Richard Tilghman found a prehistoric pestle mortared in place in the peak of the furnace arch, just last summer. Drake Witte, an experienced mason who understands 18th century mortar and bricks, concludes that the pestle was placed there by the furnace builder. The pestle is part of a West African spirit bundle tradition connected to fire and lightening. This is the second West African bundle found in the green house.
Within this environment are slaves who have created their own world. We have plenty of evidence that Africans knew the food environment very well. Amanda Tang, who is writing her doctoral dissertation on food at Wye House, particularly regarding how slaves fed themselves, has identified thousands of discarded food animal remains from quarter environments and has found that enslaved Africans hunted, fished, gathered oysters, killed wild birds, must have raised chickens, and exploited most of the woods, marshes, bogs, and waters surrounding Wye. They did this in addition to eating the rations of pork or herring and corn distributed to them monthly. They weren’t supposed to, but they did.
From this, we can see that the plants in the greenhouse come from these same environments. Many, maybe most, are wild foods. We do not yet know how they were cultivated in the 18th century. We do not yet know whether their genetic structures were managed so that they were actually domesticated to make them more productive for human use.
We want to maintain the hypothesis that we can see in the greenhouse the least expected and most promising offshoot of European scientific, utopian gardening: African American gardening.
If an island is a utopia filled with nature’s forms made more perfect by human control, learning, management, and understanding, then we need to admit that there is one element Europeans never intended to import into their utopias. Foreign cultures were not welcome, alive, and healthy.
Nonetheless, what we see at Wye is: creative, exploratory, self-sufficient, daring, African, and imaginative. This hypothesis is that the pollen at the Wye greenhouse shows a full understanding of European gardening and agriculture and a full use and understanding of the natural food producing environment too. It is a beginning for our understanding of African American gardening.
African American gardening features, in its classic forms, swept yards, fencing, plants with many medicinal properties, domesticated animals for food, and edible plants. And the spirit world as well. There is no doubt that African American gardening produces food and flowers. Sometimes there is a swept area. Sometimes there are ornaments like pinwheels, hubcaps, bottles on trees, trellises with diamond spaces, arbors with grates with many openings, white stones, and blue shutters. The European eye sees irregular places, few right angles, overlapping zones, and things placed as though they were in the way–that’s the wrong perspective.
Here in Talbot County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, three African Americans have told me the tradition of African American gardening exists. No one seems to have recorded it yet, but we at the university want to. My newest doctoral student, Beth Pruitt, wants to take that on. And we need to find out, because it began at Wye House and at every other plantation on the Eastern Shore. It’s in the mustards, Seneca snakeroot, ginger root, and buckbean found in the 1775 quarter at the Wye greenhouse. So, you see what’s significant here that adds to this morning is this 250 years of highly specified information in the ground on the origins of African American culture here, and particularly of how African Americans utilized and domesticated the natural environment, and that’s entirely parallel with the scientific tradition of European agriculture that began and continues up through to today.
This gardening tradition combines foods and medicines but also the world of spirits–and this is different. Swept yards are swept daily to push out, sweep out, the spirits of the dead. After people die, according to many West African religious traditions, their spirits linger, seeking ways back to their original home in the sea. Such spirits have power to cure, help, hurt, and can be managed by adepts who can put together plant parts and other things to get a spirit to do what is needed. Such management is done by a sacred pharmacopeia and has an early root in the greenhouse at Wye house. I was thinking how to explain to this audience what a sacred pharmacopeia is, and immediately I remembered holy water. That’s a kind of sacred pharmacopeia in the European tradition. This other is much more complex and it also works.
African American gardening is what Europeans never intended to import into their plantations. Instead, what we see at Wye through archaeology is what Europeans and white Americans got and that still lives. It is a separate culture with knowledge of plants, animals, food, medicine, household utensils, and African religion. This is a whole culture, equal and alive. So, there are two gardening traditions here, including one that defied European utopian planning, was imported anyway, thrives and that can be recelebrated in the lovely shade provided by the recognition that today’s new statue gives all of us.
Europe and America wanted new resources and raw materials, but not necessarily new cooking or a new cuisine. But plantation life got a new cuisine anyway, and so did we. In addition to the information on plant foods we have from Wye’s greenhouse, there is another, a parallel body of information. There are the Lloyds’ cookbooks, in which there are about a hundred recipes. The cookbooks were compiled beginning around 1852 and are filled with recipes until at least 1881. They are rare and rich because among other people, they list four African American cooks and seven Lloyds. Reading cookbooks is not hard either for Amanda Tang or for me because we both like to cook and to eat. There are two reasons the food is foreign to us in these books. The Lloyds are eating brains and heads, which most people don’t do anymore. And there are few roasts, though it is a widely-held notion that this should have been the fare of the Lloyds and others. And there are almost no vegetables, except those which were pickled. There are a lot of breads and tons of desserts. This was an English cuisine in its American manifestation, foreign to many of us today, but common earlier.
Then, and more familiar to us, there is rice and tomatoes, corn fritters, hoe cakes, tomato pickle cabbage, ginger cake, Indian meal muffins, sweet potato pone, buckwheat cakes, pickle peppers, strawberries. We see these foods from the pollen in the living quarter in the greenhouse. Now, I found myself asking, is this Southern cooking? We all know it is. But is this one of the many origins of Southern cooking? In addition, I had to ask myself when I got this question in my head, is it what really makes me want to go to dinner?
At one point in the early 19th century there were over 150 enslaved Africans at Wye. They were all eating, a third were cooking, and most were gathering, growing, hunting, and fishing sometime during the day. In this environment a cuisine was created, some of which comes from the gardening traditions that are African American. We call this Southern cooking and see it as a Southern tradition that involves some black elements. However, we could see it as what happened when whites bought people who were thought to have no culture. And when whites bought plants and rented scientific gardeners to make a profit, they saw a plantation as a planned, scientifically run utopia with themselves in control. Whites bought people, plants, and science, however, they did not see that they imported into their utopian islands people who would make a unified, integrated way with food and who included religion while doing so. This is what later becomes Southern cuisine. It was probably served on both tables, memorized by cooks, but only written down by whites. Southern cooking and the cuisine eaten by many of us in Maryland today, was not created solely by those who had the ability to write these cookbooks. Though it has become attributed to white, Southerners today, Southern cooking was a created equally by African Americans. This produced a rich and varied community.
On this day of the unveiling, I suggest that the statue to Douglass is an invitation to find more of African American culture and to see its origins, not as a separate entity, but as a part of life on the Eastern Shore for so long and as so creative that it has been part of us, not an add-on or a remnant. In the greenhouse and beneath the ground at Wye we have a microcosm and also a microenvironment that represents the processes that characterize the whole Eastern Shore. Beneath the veneer of utopian experimentation is a whole other and equal world of great value and available to us all through archaeology.
On this day of the unveiling, I suggest that the statue to Douglass is an invitation to find more of African American culture and to see its origins not as a separate entity but as a part of life on the eastern shore for so long and is so created that it is a part of us and not an add-on or a remnant. Now, how can we go about this new search, the invitation that we have given each other today. Here is a suggestion:
There is a picturesque map from the 1960s of the buildings including the slave quarters at Wye House as they would have stood during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was drawn by Henry Chandlee Forman. The map is as enticing as it is mystifying. It shows many slave quarter buildings, all now gone.
As we excavated at Wye House over the last six years, we have dug three buildings on the Long Green where Douglass said most of the enslaved lived and worked in his time. The ruins are just below the surface and in some cases the tops of brick foundations poke through the grass and loose soil. However, it became clear to me that these small buildings could not possibly have housed the hundreds of people associated with Douglass’s description.
This last winter and spring Benjamin Skolnik, a doctoral student working with us, created a method which found two of the missing quarters at Wye, the two biggest. Ben took the 1960 Forman map and an undated aerial photograph of really superb quality from the first half of the 20th century, and modern satellite imagery similar to Google Earth of Wye House and matched them up. The Forman map showed a two story brick quarter and also a brick row quarter of three contiguous dwellings. Now these are gone. And Forman’s map had an unreliable scale on it. But there were many buildings still standing when the aerial image was made. So, Ben orthorectified and georectified the aerial image, which meant he corrected for the angle of the airplane which was low and not perpendicular to the ground and fitted universal U.S.G.S coordinates to each point in the image. This essentially made the photo into a map that could be fitted squarely onto Forman’s map. Then he created a modern LiDAR map of Wye House from the data provided by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The map is composed of a set of laser readings from a flyover and is done at a very fine scale and produces a topographic map with vertical resolution of only a few centimeters. This modern topographic map, the 1960s Forman map, and the orthorectified and georectified aerial photograph were combined using software and the result is made up of accurate coordinates which can be connected to any known location on the ground. This system allowed us to find lost buildings, and it would do so on almost any plantation whose land survives.
During spring break, a whole group of very excited and experienced graduate students were welcomed out to Wye by the Tilghmans to dig. And their welcome is always enthusiastic. And they found the two lost quarters. Ben said the quarters were within ten feet of where his process said they would be. They were found using shovel test pits, which is a sampling method used to explore land where you expect to find something, but you don’t know exactly where to look.
We will excavate parts of these buildings this summer, and we will do so starting on Monday, because we won’t know what they actually are without looking at the artifacts. And, of course, we will collect the pollen from the dirt floor of the quarters in order to see how similar or different the plants there were from the greenhouse and its quarter. We particularly want a pattern of use in domestication. Because, after all, what I’ve offered you in regard to use of pollen and its presence is a hypothesis. It’s also a hypothesis that this is the origin of Southern cooking, but the difference between what I’m trying to do here and what we did this morning is that this morning is a completely well-developed set of ideas from art, from history. This is the first time scientific archaeology has been done out here, and worked in a single place for many, many years. It’s going to take decades to make it all make sense. So, I want you to see these not as facts, but I invite you to see them as hypotheses you can use.
In the meantime, our hypothesis about the arrival of African peoples and the building of African American gardening is organized to see beyond Wye House. To achieve this, four of us selected about 40 Chesapeake plantations in Talbot, Queen Anne’s, and Anne Arundel Counties that are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Ben Skolnik narrowed the 40 down to 29 based on how intact the plantations seemed to be. That’s not the houses, that’s the landscapes. Professor Stephen Prince, my colleague in the Geography Department at College Park, and Ben Skolnik arranged for us to get the State of Maryland Department of Natural Resources LiDAR readings for the counties around the Bay which included all the plantations we picked. We can make accurate topographical maps from the reading of any piece of land. With those LiDAR maps of historic plantations and combined with orthorectified and georectified older aerial photographs of the Bay region’s plantations, we can do for all these plantations, what we have begun to do at Wye. And here’s what we can do: we can find the missing buildings. Find the torn down quarters. Find the missing African American homes, the missing African American history. So, this is for the future.
This is a complex, noninvasive process that depends on older aerial photographs, some of which will date to the earlier 20th century, before many plantation out-buildings and slave quarters were demolished. Such buildings were demolished before they were thought to have use or value. I don’t think they were ever torn down in spite, they just didn’t have a use after emancipation. But today, we know they are historic treasures, particularly to their descendants. Now, we also know that we can see slavery as a time when African culture survived and African American culture was made. So these buildings, now gone, have the record of a creative, complex culture in the ground around them, which is only beginning to be understood. It is all there through modern, scientific archaeology.
Each of the plantation landscapes around here and around the Bay has a documented history. Each will have Federal census records listing all of the African descendants by first name. Some will list the skill the person was known for. Most will have probate inventories that list buildings and people who were owned. Most will have plats that are likely to show the approximate location of slave quarters. All will have excellently detailed aerial photographs from the 1920’s to the 1950’s–these are amazing and beautiful things. All are covered by LiDAR, but only a specialist can make a good topographic map from LiDAR readings. Only a professional could superimpose all of these individual layers and find the missing buildings.
I am not suggesting a do-it-yourself finding expedition. And casual excavation destroys the context which is delicate and which must be preserved for finding chronology, pollen, discarded food bones, and the structures themselves. I am suggesting, however, a serious commitment to building a different, accurate, and more comprehensive social history. We can work together on the lands of our counties to make a history of communities of creativity, a history that announces equality.
What will this achieve? What good will it do? What’s the significance of all this? Two things will be achieved. We will know where African Americans lived and will be able to allow the owners of surviving plantation lands to protect their properties and the ruins on them much better. Most people I’ve met here want to know more about the history of their properties including the quarters on them.
Second, and finally, we can build a future on a known, accurate, and celebrated past made by everyone’s descendants through contributions from all people.”
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