Researchers Say Slaves Hid African Charms on Colonial Greenhouse in Maryland

“The greenhouse on the Maryland plantation where famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass spent part of his childhood was not as uniquely European as once thought: Its furnace was built by slaves, who hid distinctly African touches within it to ward off bad spirits, researchers said.

“A stone pestle to control spirits was concealed in brick ductwork used to heat the orangery — a type of greenhouse used to shield citrus and other trees from chilly winters — and University of Maryland archaeologists found charms buried at the structure’s entrance, said excavation leader Mark Leone. The greenhouse was long considered a mark of European sophistication and was a status symbol of the era.”

By: Alex Dominguez, Associated Press

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About BFC/A

The Black Film Center/Archive at Indiana University was established in 1981 as the first archival repository dedicated to collecting, preserving, and making available historically and culturally significant films by and about black people. The BFC/A's primary objectives are to promote scholarship on black film and to serve as an open resource for scholars, researchers, students, and the general public; to encourage creative film activity by independent black filmmakers; and to undertake and support research on the history, impact, theory, and aesthetics of black film traditions. View all posts by BFC/A

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