A Historical Dig Sheds Light on the Food of the Underground Railroad

O' Be Joyful

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May 12, 2019
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The Bayly cabin has been standing in Cambridge, Maryland, in its current form for more than 150 years. Courtesy of MDOT


Important sources include the autobiographies of Frederick Douglas and Underground Railroad conductor William Still’s “Journal C,” a log book where he kept details of escapees’ journeys.
In these accounts, travelers on the Underground Railroad eat whatever they can carry, beg, forage, or filch. Some common dishes enslaved people ate on plantations became staples of the journey. For example, in one of his autobiographies, Frederick Douglass describes ash cake, a staple food made by wrapping a paste of cornmeal and water in oak leaves and steaming the packet in hot ash. Cohen cites one account from two freedom seekers from North Carolina who, lacking any bowls, mixed cornmeal and water in their hats.
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byron ed

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Jun 17, 2020
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One small but interesting thing implied in the article is that there may be a sort of heritage racial memory, that yet today whites are suspicious of blacks being near anything they own, which is evident in the way blacks are reported and watched more than others for merely walking or driving in a neighborhood -- the article connects that mere survival as a slave on plantation or in flight required pilfering crops or stores whenever the opportunity arose, and that it was an ingrained lifestyle.

Your opinion, is the concept valid or a stretch?

(or, JK will decide if it's worth discussing)
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