Enslavement and Autonomy in Late Eighteenth-Century Albany, New York

TitleEnslavement and Autonomy in Late Eighteenth-Century Albany, New York
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsLucas, MT, Kirk, M
JournalHistorical Archaeology
Date PublishedMay-09-2023

In 1998, Hartgen Archeological Associates, Inc., excavated the remains of the John Bogart House basement in downtown Albany, New York. Archaeologists found a small artifact-filled barrel buried below the floor adjacent to an interior dividing wall. Most striking were the number of sharp and modified objects within this barrel and elsewhere under the basement floor that were likely hidden or lost by enslaved African Americans who occupied the space during the late 18th century. Albany underwent a dramatic social and political transformation at the end of the 18th century, causing anxiety and tension with the city. Within this uncertain post-Revolutionary climate, Albany’s African American community expressed a measure of public autonomy through the Pinkster festival. At the same time, African Americans at the Bogart House were carefully curating multivalent objects to express personal autonomy and group identity in the face of often violent repression.

Short TitleHist Arch