Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-x

Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

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Introduction: Exploring and Contextualizing Historic African American Life in a Cultural Borderland, 1690s to 1950s

Michael J. Gall and Richard F. Veit

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pp. 1-18

On July 4, 1776, a committee of landed, wealthy white men led by Thomas Jefferson met in Independence Hall in Philadelphia and penned some of the most famous words in the English language, “We hold these truths to be selfevident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” At about the same time, roughly 90 miles away in Morris County, the Reverend Jacob Green, a Presbyterian minister and abolitionist, was drafting New Jersey’s first state constitution. This latter document, much...

Part I. Slavery and Material Culture

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pp. 19-20

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1. Identifying an Eighteenth-Century Slave Quarter Complex at the Cedar Creek Road Site in Southern Delaware

William B. Liebeknecht

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pp. 21-36

Despite decades of archaeological surveys in Delaware, the Cedar Creek Road Site in Sussex County is among the first recognized archaeological sites in the state to contain possible archaeological evidence associated with enslaved Africans’ quarters and workspaces. There, a series of features, including the remains of multiple post-in-ground earthfast buildings, subfloor pits, and a possible West African–style bloomery pit, along with limited historical documentation, provide circumstantial evidence for a small, enslaved African population at the site. Through the process of human trafficking, this population...

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2. Colonoware in the Upper Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Keri J. Sansevere

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pp. 37-54

Commonly identified in the American Southeast, lower Mid-Atlantic, and Caribbean, colonoware is traditionally recognized as a type of low-fired, handconstructed coarse earthenware pottery that often mimics European vessel forms (see Espenshade and Kennedy 2002:210; Ferguson 1992; Madsen 2005:106; Noël Hume 1962; Singleton 1995:132). The pottery is typically constructed by using hand coil or slab primary forming techniques (Hauser and DeCorse 2003) and may be given a smoothed dull, coarse, or burnished (polished) surface treatment (Singleton 1995:132). Decoration may be applied as...

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3. An Archaeological View of Slavery and Social Relations at Rock Hall, Lawrence, New York

Ross Thomas Rava and Christopher N. Matthews

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pp. 55-68

The Rock Hall Museum, a beautiful manor estate in Lawrence, New York, was once the home of one of the largest groups of enslaved Africans in a single household in present-day Nassau County, which was part of Queens County before 1898. The Martins, the original owners, were a wealthy British Antiguan sugar planter family. The little-known story of the African American majority in the household is currently based largely on conjecture and generalized patterns of and assumptions about master-slave relationships in the region. Drawing on the museum’s well-documented history of the household,...

Part II. Housing, Community, and Labor

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pp. 69-70

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4. Navigation and Negotiation: Adaptive Strategies of a Free African American Family in Central Delaware

Michael J. Gall, Glenn R. Modica, and Tabitha C. Hilliard

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pp. 71-87

Richard Cooper, a Barbados-born slave, and his wife, Nanny, once occupied a small tenant farmstead on marginal land, more than one-half mile from the nearest road, in Little Creek Hundred (present-day Dover), Kent County, Delaware. The couple took residence at the back of a swampy lot known as White Oak Swamp Farm after gaining their freedom from slavery in 1778. Following Richard’s death in 1820, the family’s home was abandoned and removed, and the tenancy was plowed over. Discovered nearly 200 years later, archaeology at the former farmstead, designated as Locus B of the Garrison Energy...

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5. The Material Culture of Tenancy: Excavations at an African American Tenant Farm, Christiana, Pennsylvania

James A. Delle

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pp. 88-100

In the first half of the nineteenth century, numerous African American families migrated from the southern to the northeastern states. While many settled in cities, others established themselves in rural areas, often as tenant farmers. Although several noted archaeologists have reported on the material culture of African American tenancy in the postbellum South (e.g., Adams and Smith 1995; Orser 1988), relatively little has been published on tenancy in the antebellum years, particularly in northern states (Groover 2008). This chapter contributes to the growing literature on the archaeology of tenancy by reporting...

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6. Mapping Marshalltown: Documentary Archaeology of a Southern New Jersey Landscape of Emancipation

Janet L. Sheridan

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pp. 101-115

The fragmentary black settlement of Marshalltown rose and fell between 1834 and 1951. Situated amid an agrarian landscape in Mannington Township, Salem County, New Jersey (see Figure 6.1), its name honors Thomas Marshall, a remarkably successful black farmer, churchman, and storekeeper who led the way in landowning by people of color. Socially marginalized on poor soil next to a tidal flat, it was a landscape where people of color exercised agency by acquiring land and homes and establishing institutions. It exemplifies how African-descended people freed during the first emancipation in...

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7. Tenants on the Woodlot: The Bird-Houston Site, St. Georges Hundred, Delaware

Jason P. Shellenhamer and John Bedell

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pp. 116-129

Examination of transient rural African American tenant farm laborer house sites, also known as cottages or house and garden residences (Bordley 1801; Siders and Andrzejewski 1997:199–166), provides important insight into living arrangements; social, occupational, and economic navigation strategies; and community formation methods among free African Americans in the Mid-Atlantic region. Established by landed farmers as a way of ensuring a steady supply of laborers, house and garden residences once dotted the rural eighteenth- and nineteenth-century landscape as wage labor replaced slave...

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8. The Relationships of Race, Class, and Food in the African American Community of Timbuctoo, New Jersey

Christopher Barton

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pp. 130-142

This chapter focuses on the ways the African American residents, particularly women, of Timbuctoo in Burlington County, New Jersey, preserved and consumed food in the first half of the twentieth century, and how those food preservation practices shaped and were shaped by community values, socialized culture, and macroeconomic and geopolitical issues. More specifically, this examination focuses on localized networks of class, gender, and race, set within global contexts of World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. I contend that African Americans in the region engaged in a...

Part III. Death and Memorialization

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pp. 143-144

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9. “Born a Slave, Died Free:” Antebellum African American Gravemarkers in Northern New Jersey

Richard F. Veit and Mark Nonestied

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pp. 145-157

“Born a Slave, Died Free” read the gravemarker of David Allen Drake, an African American man buried in the graveyard of the Scotch Plains Baptist Church in New Jersey. Gravemarkers like his reveal much about life for free and enslaved African Americans in the early nineteenth century, in an area where rural slavery was once quite common, and are material evidence of a sad chapter in the state’s history. At the same time, they provide important insights into the ways material culture was used to construct and perpetuate identities and social relationships in early America. This chapter examines a...

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10. Above the Valley and Below the Radar: Mount Gilead African Methodist Episcopal Church and Its Community

Meagan M. Ratini

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pp. 158-170

Mount Gilead African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church was founded in the early nineteenth century in rural Buckingham, Pennsylvania, approximately five miles west of the Delaware River (see Figure 10.1). The physically prominent 500-foot-high hill where Mount Gilead sits is called Buckingham Mountain. A wooded hill surrounded by farmland, Buckingham Mountain has a long tradition of being a place of secrecy. In the first half of the nineteenth century, its caves are said to have housed a hermit and also people who escaped slavery (Paxon 1909; Reinhardt 2012). Before then, it was recorded as...

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11. An African American Union Soldier Remembered: James Elbert and the African Union Church Cemetery in Polktown, Delaware

David Orr

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pp. 171-182

The African Union Church Cemetery (AUCC) and the Polktown community, past and present, offer a significant chapter in the history of the Delaware City area. Both speak to one of the still-unresolved interpretations of the Civil War, the meaning of “free” and “slave” in a slaveholding state. They recall the African diaspora and the associated rich cultures brought here, albeit under often-harrowing circumstances. The community and the AUCC also speak to our present: an ever-changing democracy that has witnessed the election of its first African American president. Both resources are a learning laboratory...

Part IV. Reflections

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pp. 183-184

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12. Reflections on Dynamic African American Social Cultures and Communities in the Upper Mid-Atlantic, 1610s to 1950s

Christopher C. Fennell

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pp. 185-197

Archaeological investigations of early African America, like the studies presented in this book, are remarkable for the diversity of analytic scales and research questions pursued. This diversity of research efforts has yielded a highly productive, interdisciplinary expansion of knowledge concerning African diaspora histories. The studies presented in this volume make significant contributions to this field of research. Through active engagement with stakeholder communities, such studies also contribute to the commemoration of a proud heritage of human spirit in African America....

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13. African American Cultures and Place in the Greater Delaware Valley Borderland, 1620s to 1920s

Lu Ann De Cunzo

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pp. 198-212

This volume presents two arguments about the African American experience in the upper Middle Atlantic. First, racism ensured commonalities in the African diaspora experience across America. In the introduction, editors Michael J. Gall and Richard F. Veit commemorate the hidden and public transgressions against authority that African Americans enacted to institute change and mitigate disenfranchisement. Writing with Glenn R. Modica and Tabitha C. Hilliard about the Coopers in central Delaware during the early Republic, Gall emphasizes this family’s efforts “to capitalize on . . . opportunities as they...

References Cited

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pp. 213-256

Contributors

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pp. 257-260

Index

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pp. 261-272