Finding a Hidden Africa in 1780s Maryland Orangery

Posted by admin on Feb 17, 2011

Excavations by University of Maryland archaeologists at the 1785 Wye “Orangery” on Maryland’s Eastern Shore – the only 18th century greenhouse left in North America – reveals that African American slaves played a sophisticated, technical role in its construction and operation. They left behind tangible cultural evidence of their involvement and spiritual traditions.

Frederick Douglass, who lived there as a young man, made it famous through his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845). But the team concludes he failed to appreciate the slaves’ full contribution.

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