“All of Us Would Walk Together”: Dissertation

In the spring of 2014 I completed my dissertation at Michigan State University in the Department of Anthropology. The project was conducted with materials excavated by the Historic St. Mary's City Commission (http://stmaryscity.org) over the past 20 years from a mid-19th century plantation. These materials tell the story of multiple African American households from the period of slavery, through the Civil War, and into the 20th century. One of these structures, a former duplex slave quarter and single family tenant home, still stands. Until recently, few historical archaeologists have examined post-slavery era plantation sites, particularly within the context of African American labor. In Maryland, this period has received even less attention, which is significant since the agricultural, political, and social context of Maryland as a Union border state indicates that the conditions for post-emancipation African American life differed greatly from those further south. By enquiring about the negotiation of space throughout the plantation and beyond its borders. My research expands our understanding of how African American families and communities established their own free spaces before and after the Civil War.

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