Urban Fold

Has the Oldest African American Neighborhood Been Unearthed in Maryland?

Could 'the Hill' neighborhood in Talbot County, MD predate New Orleans' Treme as the nation's oldest continuously inhabited black community? That's what archaeologists are trying to find out in the back yard of the local women’s club.

"Some were the freed slaves of conscience-stricken Quakers. Others were freed by a sea captain in his will. Still others were freed by a slave midwife who bought freedom for herself and her family," writes Michael E. Ruane. "Together, here in Talbot County on the Eastern Shore, they may have given birth to what scholars suspect could be the oldest enclave of free African Americans, and possibly the oldest existing black neighborhood, in the country."

“It’s the oldest free black, African American neighborhood in the country that has been continuously inhabited and still in existence,” said Dale Green, an assistant professor in the Department of Architecture at Morgan State University.

"The neighborhood is called 'the Hill,' and for the past two weeks a team of archaeologists and anthropologists has been digging for its story in the back yard of the local women’s club."

Full Story: Dig at Eastern Shore site, built by freed slaves, shows it may be U.S.’s oldest black community

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