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  • Writer's pictureF. Haywood Glenn

Through My Literary Lens

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

Maroons - More of what they didn’t teach us in school.

In researching run-away slaves and the Underground Railroad I learned that even before the establishment of The Underground Railroad, slaves found other ways to escape bondage. Many not only ran away, but they were able to establish their own communities apart from the plantation. Hiding and living in secret communities was not just in the Americas, but around the world.

Archeologist have discovered that these communities, called Maroons, originally referred to those who were put away or left on an isolated island as a way of punishment. However, over time they evolved into entire communities of people fleeing the shackles of chattel slavery. It was a nonviolent form of resistance. Almost every place where people were enslaved, there were secret communities of runaway slaves.

The first discoveries were in Dutch Guyana, the Caribbean islands, Brazil, and Cuba. Eventually, American slaves began to escape the plantation in favor of these types of hidden communities.

The Great Dismal Swamp

Archeologist have studied The Great Dismal Swamp, in southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina. Apparently, the swamp was covered in thick foliage which made it difficult to navigate by horse or boat. Originally occupied by Native Americans fleeing colonials. Runaway slaves and indentured whites soon joined the Native Americans. Maroons were also discovered in Florida.

I found this to be a fascinating piece of history. If you are interested in further reading, I have listed a few of website I read.

Additional Reading:

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