Found this article at the University of Georgia Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Library, yesterday. It is titled “Ante-Bellum Slave Quarters Still Stand Near Atlanta.” It references a row of six one room brick houses located at the intersection of Ben Hill and Washington Road in East Point, Georgia. Journalist, Boyd Taylor, wrote that the homes were still occupied by descendants of the original inhabitants (this article was likely written around the early 1940s).
Taylor described the area as a “scenic surprise” for motorists, with the potential to hear a strumming of a guitar and the hum of a melodic spiritual on a summer night. Quaint, old houses with stucco walls
A few thoughts:
1. This article was written to attract white motorists to the area. Taylor’s description “the quiet village still stands as much as it did in the distant more romantic days before the war” proves that
2. Boyd Taylor, the paper’s Automotive Editor, authored this story
3. In 1941 Boyd Taylor received a $3000 loan from Margaret Mitchell to preserve and turn into a museum, Atlanta’s famed historic home, the Margaret Mitchell House
4. Does any part of the referenced “slave quarters” remain in the East Point community today?
5. Are there any historic markers interpreting the history of the Connally Plantation and the slave quarters referenced in this article?
Meet Mr. Alfred Jackson. Having lived his life as an enslaved person at Andrew Jackson’s the Hermitage, he became a “tour guide” when the Ladies’ Hermitage Association turned the home into a historic site in 1889. Historian W. Fitzhugh Brundage, author of “The Southern Past” expressed “we can only wonder [how] Alfred’s position—an aged former slave who was dependent on his storytelling and white audiences for his livelihood—influenced his voiced memory.” Still, Jackson is recognized for his ability to give a first person account of the way in which the Hermitage mansion functioned as an office and gathering hall for Andrew Jackson who served as President of the United States from 1829 – 1837.
The Hermitage located in Nashville, Tennessee consists of 1,000 acres of land, where cotton was once the cash crop, worked by enslaved African American men, women and children.
Alfred Jackson’s story as an enslaved person and “tour guide” is included in the Hermitage’s current interpretive history offerings. Today, visitors can learn about Alfred’s story through an audio and walking tour, the museum’s multimedia exhibit, and the cabin he and his family resided in as freedmen. Alfred Jackson’s burial site is also located in the garden near Andrew Jackson
Image 1: Alfred Jackson.
Image 2: Alfred Jackson pictured in his home, a cabin that he shared with his wife post-slavery. Note the bed and water cooler. Those were items that Alfred purchased at a Hermitage house auction.
Image 3: Alfred Jackson “tour guide” alongside visitors at the Hermitage historic site.
[photos courtesy of Andrew Jackson Foundation | Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage]
Photo by Sophia V. Nelson/The Merging Lanes Project
Meet Mary Dennard-Turner, part of the Maryland Park Service staff at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center located in Church Creek (Dorchester County) Maryland.
An area native. For several years she has been an active member of the local heritage preservation society. She was retired when the Maryland Park Service approached her to work as a greeter at the visitor center. She said when she retired as a corrections officer she told herself she’d never wear another uniform again. Yet, there she was, complemented by that beautiful white, green and red Maryland Park Service seal; one of the first faces to greet a few groups and I when we entered the visitor center on Tuesday.
She shared she had just crossed over the 1 year mark as a seasonal employee and is enjoying herself.
More on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center to come.
Pictured is Cheyney McKnight, an Atlanta native and founder of interpretation company, “Not Your Momma’s History”. Raised in a home that encouraged her to learn everything from Civil Rights to the Great Migration, McKnight would eventually go on to attain a political science degree from Simmons College.
Immediately after, she spent 3-years of independent study, traveling to archives and historical sites in NY, VA and Pennsylvania. Then she started participating in Living History Re-enactments, which can be defined as a portrayal of everyday activities such as cooking, cleaning, and medical care from a particular historical period. Her first re-enactment was during the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. She portrayed a 22 year-old freewoman of color
McKnight is committed to influencing diversity in Living History interpretations. She recognizes the voice it can lend to contemporary movements such as Black Lives Matter.
Today, there is a small representation of Black Living Historians and she is committed to changing that. She is confident that in 10 years she will not be the only one doing this forecasting, “there will be 20 black women living historians just in New York” alone.