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Grant number: BH-50596-13

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BH-50596-13

London Town Foundation, Inc. (Edgewater, MD 21037-2120)
Lisa Robbins (Project Director: 03/07/2013 to present)

Secret Culture, Public Lives: Slavery in the Colonial Chesapeake

Two one-week Landmarks workshops for eighty school teachers on the development of slavery in the Chesapeake Bay region during the eighteenth century.

Two one-week Landmarks workshops for eighty school teachers on the development of slavery in the Chesapeake Bay region during the eighteenth century. Historic London Town and Gardens, the site of an eighteenth-century tobacco port, offers two one-week workshops that address the experiences and cultures of newly arrived slaves in the Chesapeake Bay region by focusing on the direct slave trade with Africa and its relationship to manifestations of distinctive, yet often hidden, cultural expression practiced by slaves. This approach is warranted by new research revealing that slaves arrived in the region, not from all across western Africa, but in fair concentration from specific areas, which allowed for greater cultural continuity than has previously been assumed. Led by Lisa Robbins, an anthropologist who is Historic London Town's director of public programs, the workshop begins with discussion of the Chesapeake's tobacco economy and the development of slavery in the region before turning to foodways, material culture, religion, and the evolution of African-American culture. Finally, participants consider ways that slavery and African-American culture have been interpreted in museums and ways that these subjects can be taught. In addition to sessions held at Historic London Town and Gardens, participants also visit Sotterly Plantation, Historic Annapolis, the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory, and an archaeological dig at the site of King's Reach, a colonial tobacco plantation. Along with Robbins, scholars include Philip Morgan (Johns Hopkins University), Michael Twitty (independent scholar), Kym Rice (George Washington University), Lorena Walsh (Colonial Williamsburg), and Psyche Williams-Forson (University of Maryland), as well as staff from the cultural institutions participants visit. Readings are drawn from works by such scholars as Ira Berlin, David Eltis, Peter Hatch, Patricia Samford, Allan Kulikoff, Lonnie Bunch, Rex Ellis, and Faith Davis Ruffins, as well as works by the visiting scholars. Participants spend considerable time working with primary sources from the Maryland State Archives, with the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, and with archaeological artifacts in order to incorporate such resources in the development of teaching materials.

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Program:
Landmarks of American History

Division:
Education Programs

Total amounts:
$177,814 (approved)
$174,443 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2013 – 12/31/2014