African American Heritage
In early 1779, Moravian settlers in Salem found they needed a roof tiler so they sought Negro George to make tile. George the tiler was only one of hundreds of enslaved and free Black people whose skill and labor helped build the Moravian Community. These enslaved people of African descent worked beside white settlers on farms, in craft shops, in homes and in taverns, sometimes rising to positions of high responsibility. Black people labored on farms of Hope, Friedberg and Friedland. In Wachovia overall, Blacks numbered about a tenth of the workforce by 1800. By 1860 Black people, both enslaved and free, comprised 16% of the total population of Forsyth County and 22% of the Salem District.
View the Fox 8 Special: Black History Month: From Slaves to Community Leaders, which highlights how Peter Oliver’s story is still motivating his family today, six and seven generations down the road.