Sunday, December 28, 2014

Fleeing To Dismal Swamp, Slaves And Outcasts Found Freedom

Great Dismal Swamp, in Virginia and North Carolina, was once thought to be haunted. For generations of escaped slaves, says archaeologist Dan Sayers, the swamp was a haven. 
Today, 112,000 acres of swamp remain, and archaeologist Daniel Sayers has explored many of them. He's found large islands where escaped slaves settled. "When you're walking through a thousand feet of the briars and the water, the mosquitoes are eating you alive, sweating bullets, and you're almost exhausted, and then suddenly your foot's no longer squishing in the peat but now it's walking on dry ground and crunchy leaves — it blows your mind," Sayers says. "You can't imagine people not living there." He's now written about life on these islands in a new book, A Desolate Place for a Defiant People. He believes 10 generations of escaped slaves lived here, along with Native Americans who'd been driven off their land and whites who were shunned by mainstream society. Full NPR story here.