A Guide to the History of Slavery in Maryland (2020)

What do Kunta Kinte, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman have in common? Their geographies truly connect them across the Americas – from the African continent to the shores of Maryland (Annapolis, Talbot County, and Dorchester County, respectively). This brief manual outlines the history of slavery as an economic system and offers a chronology of the institution in the state. Plantation slavery, as a result of the Tobacco Revolution, sparked a dramatic shift in the volume and character of slavery along the Chesapeake. “While fewer than one thousand Africans arrived in Maryland between 1619 and 1697, nearly 100,000 disembarked during the three quarters of a century prior to the American Revolution.” (p.4)  Focusing on the regions with deep roots, Baltimore county (especially Towson and Ellicott City), St. Mary’s City and historic Hampton all played key roles in slavery, abolition, and the state’s retention of archeological and historical facts related to the unique experiences of enslaved people of African descent, many of whom were not originally from Africa, but were trafficked from the British Caribbean and what is now known today as the American south. With an easy flow to this heavy topic, this short guide is rich with resources – websites, primary source references, and a lengthy bibliography specific to Maryland’s colonial beginnings.