How did Africans in the American South meet, survive, and sometimes triumph over the tragic circumstance of enslavement?

How did skill, creativity, and dedication to family help them through these difficult times?

How did they rebel against this oppression?

view of houses today
Two brick houses lived in by the enslaved workers on Hermitage Plantation (Savannah)
as they appear today in Greenfield Village, 1997

Enslavement, giving one person power over the life and labor of another, is as old as recorded history. Enslavement dates back to ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt, and has since involved people in every part of the world.

In the United States, enslavement of Africans began during the colonial era--even though it was at odds with the colonists' own search for freedom from oppression. As early as the mid 1700s, enslaved and free Africans and their descendants lived in the American North and South, in cities and rural areas.

In Greenfield Village, in Dearborn, Michigan, we've restored two of 52 brick houses made and lived in by enslaved workers at Henry McAlpin's coastal Georgia plantation, the Hermitage. Our visitors walk into these buildings, imagining life inside the house and asking questions about the family who lived there--questions few books seem to answer. Take a walk through this house, too, and ask these same questions.

Discover for yourself the ways in which resilience and resistance against enslavement were evident in their everyday lives and experiences. What you see and hear just might surprise you!

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