Skip Navigation Bar

Exhibition Program

Join Our Mailing list

Stay up -to-date with the latest at the National Library of Medicine.

Close

Exhibitions:

Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America

Exhibition logo; white man sits, African American woman stands in background.Exhibition logo; white man sits, African American woman stands in background.

Meals can tell us how power is exchanged between and among different peoples, races, genders, and classes. Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America looks at the Chesapeake region, during the early colonial era, where European settlers relied upon indentured servants, Native Americans, and African slave labor for life-saving knowledge of farming and food acquisition, and to gain economic prosperity. It is through the labor of slaves, like those at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, that we can learn about the ways that meals transcend taste and sustenance.

The online exhibition features a range of resources for educators and students, including two lesson plans developed for elementary and high school courses, and a higher education module for undergraduate and graduate students and instructors, online activities, and a compilation of online resources. In addition, it offers a digital gallery of 18th-century materials on food, botany, health, and housekeeping from the NLM collection.

Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America is available as a traveling banner exhibition free of charge to interested libraries and cultural centers. Please go to Book a Traveling Exhibition for more information.