"To Dwell, I'm Determined, on That Happy Ground": An Archaeology of a Free African-American Community in Easton, Maryland, 1787-Present

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As early as 1787, free African Americans began making homes in the Easton, Maryland, neighborhood known as The Hill. Over successive generations, The Hill became the cultural and residential center of Easton’s African-American community. The families, businesses, institutions, social fabric, and cultural values that the first generations of free African Americans in Easton created on and around The Hill greatly influenced the development of African-American culture through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in terms of family and household structure, childrearing, religious life, and the memory and meaning of military service. Tracing these developments, with a focus on how African Americans and some white supporters worked together to combat slavery, racism, and other oppressions, illustrates how the politics of the freedom struggle were coded into everyday life. This investigation has also supported local grassroots efforts to preserve the legacy of that struggle on The Hill through public scholarship and practice, historic preservation, and community revitalization.