NLM logo
African American woman carrying a tray between buildings.

Detail of East Front of Mount Vernon, Joachim Ferdinand Richardt, ca. 1870

Meals can tell us how power is exchanged between and among different peoples, races, genders, and classes...Continue to Introduction

Text advertisement with a picture of an African in grass skirt holding spear.

Charleston, South Carolina slave auction advertisement, 1769

Maritime spaces served as landscapes of power for colonists, but also provided unique opportunities for enslaved Africans to seek relative autonomy and freedom...Continue to Commerce on Land + Sea

Open book showing typewritten text.

The Natural History of Coffee, Thee, Chocolate, Tobacco. ..., John Chamberlayne, 1682

The Potomac River was a lucrative source of trade and commerce for planters and slaves who, when possible, used the informal economy to barter and exchange fish for other goods...Continue to Producing Food / Negotiating Power

Wooden worn bowl.

Mixing bowl, ca. 18th century

Plantation kitchens were chaotic, noisy, smoky, smelly, sweltering, and very dangerous...Continue to Kitchen Contradictions

Open book showing typewritten text.

Detail of The Prudent Housewife, Or compleat English Cook; ..., Lydia Fisher, 1800

Slavery put in place social and culinary boundaries that could separate those who ate from those who worked...Continue to Labored Meals

African American man wearing all white, including a white cylindrical cook's hat.

Portrait possibly of Hercules, attributed to Gilbert Stuart, ca. 1795–1797

Slavery was never benevolent or kind. Despite the realm of opportunities provided a slave, she or he always desired freedom and liberty...Continue to Freedom