Archaeology students excavating in the area of the Wilson family house, Seneca Village, Central Park, NYC, 2011. Photograph by Herbert Seignoret. Courtesy of the Institute for the Exploration of Seneca Village History.

This symposium brings together archaeologists who study nineteenth-century free African American communities. Speakers will discuss how they have approached researching these communities, many of which were bulwarks in the abolition and early civil rights movements and places where residents formed positive social connections both within and across racial lines. Yet, these important communities have been largely left out of mainstream history. Presenters will explain what their research reveals about these communities and will collectively discuss what these communities, in turn, might reveal to us about living in our own divided time.

Peter N. Miller
Bard Graduate Center

Meredith B. Linn
Bard Graduate Center

Michael J. Gall
Richard Grubb and Associates, Inc.
Public and Private: Identity Construction and Free African American Life in Central Delaware, 1770s–1820s

Christopher N. Matthews
Montclair State University
A Creole Synthesis: Archaeology of the Mixed Heritage Silas Tobias Site in Setauket, New York

Christopher Lindner
Bard College
Germantown’s Parsonage: Centering Spirituality in a Nineteenth-Century African American Community

Q&A / Discussion

Joan H. Geismar
Archaeological Consultant
Skunk Hollow and Weeksville: Comparing Two Nineteenth-Century African American Communities

Rebecca Yamin
Commonwealth Heritage Group, Inc.
The Lives and Times of Josiah and Joshua Eddy: Barbers and AME Church Ministers in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia

Meredith B. Linn
Bard Graduate Center
Nan A. Rothschild
Barnard College and Columbia University
Diana diZerega Wall
City College and the City University of New York
Seneca Village: New Insights about a Forgotten Nineteenth-Century African American Community

Q&A / Discussion

Alexandra Jones
Archaeology in the Community

Nedra K. Lee
University of Massachusetts Boston
Hiding in Plain Sight: Critical Race Theory and the Use of Space at the Ransom and Sarah Williams Farmstead, Manchaca, Texas

Christopher Fennell
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Resilience and Racism in a Nineteenth-Century American Heartland: New Philadelphia and the Vagaries of Prejudice

Christopher P. Barton
Francis Marion University
“Stretching the Soup with a Little Water”: Race, Class, and Improvisation at the Black Community of Timbuctoo, New Jersey

Q&A / Discussion

Allison McGovern
VHB Engineering, Surveying, Landscape Architecture, and Geology, PC
“We Know Who We Are”: The Politics of Heritage and Preservation in East Hampton’s “Historically Black” Communities

Paul R. Mullins
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Civility and Citizenship: Narrating Free Black Heritage and Materiality

Matthew M. Palus
The Ottery Group and the University of Maryland, College Park
Cultural Resource Management Perspectives on African American Struggle with Heritage in Metropolitan Washington, DC

Q&A / Discussion

Whitney Battle-Baptiste
University of Massachusetts Amherst