In 1850, there were 201 enslaved African Americans living at the Hermitage Plantation near Savannah, Georgia. Their homes were built of brick because the Hermitage Plantation operated a brickworks. Most other enslaved persons' houses were built of wood and didn't last long. The African Americans who lived at the Hermitage made the bricks and then constructed the houses by hand--in fact, by l850, these skilled workers made 60 million bricks for buildings around Savannah!
In the American South, enslaved families often lived together or near one another. On Henry McAlpin's Hermitage Plantation, enslaved families generally lived together as a unit. Not all plantation owners believed this was important; some separated families by selling individual members to other plantation owners. Faced with hostility and oppression, enslaved African Americans formed tightly knit communities bound together by a spirit of cooperation.
Brick house from Hermitage Plantation
now in Greenfield Village, 1997
Enter the House