Winter Fair: Hidden Town Initiative (Studying the Lives of the Enslaved in Salem

Thursday, December 26, 2019 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM Old Salem Research & Archeaology Lab








Hidden Town Initiative
Martha Hartley, Director of Moravian Research, Old Salem Museums & Gardens

The history of Salem (and Winston-Salem) involves the complicated use of slavery and enslaved people to build the town and is a reminder that the founders and builders of Winston-Salem were people of European and African descent. Although some of the enslaved became church members and were considered spiritual equals, this unusual relationship did not stand the test of time. Changing ideas across generations led to segregation in worship and burial, as Salem became a Southern American town and the ownership of enslaved people increased.

To better reveal the history, Old Salem initiated the Hidden Town Project. Goals include researching to identify where enslaved people lived and who they were as human beings; connecting with their descendants; archaeologically examining dwelling sites of the enslaved; integrating the enslaved narrative into the museum experience; and collaborating through art, salon discussions and public gatherings. The Hidden Town Project will track the effects and legacy of enslaved people from the inception of Salem itself in 1766 through the Jim Crow Era and into the 21st Century.