Two Sided Assessment On Industry and The Environment

Rob Nixon, an english professor currently working at Princeton University, wrote a book in 2011 called Slow Violence And Environmentalism Of The Poor which outlined a major theme of industry and the environment which is waste. The overlying point of focus on this matter Nixon stressed is the injustice of large industry based on their waste displacement on poorer communities. This plays a two sided issue, the first being the moral disconnections of those using poor countries to their advantage, and the second is in regards to waste in general. My take on the major themes is that yes morally it is not correct to just use weaker nations/places to dispose of waste, but it is hard to just wish waste away. To do this in the most cost efficient way economically makes all the sense in the world. For example in the chapter “Of Vampire Suids and Resource Rebels” highlights the negatives on the costs for a large business to use powerless communities as disposal sites.

 

Before based solely on economics, I was slightly blinded to the health risks associated with this phenomena, in particular the infringement some industry has on infrastructure. This was especially apparent when Nixon wrote the following: “Under such circumstances, visual reminders of theft through modernity’s infrastructural invasions–by oil pipelines or massive hydroelectric dams or toxic tailings from mines–foment rage at life-threatening environmental degradation” (Nixon, 2011 p. 42). Sympathising with the issue now becomes more easy for me to do based both on humanities and economics. Yes it is never acceptable to continue to act once many lives are put in jeopardy because of an industrial decision. Economically this can be assessed by more of a cost of abatement based analysis vs total cost and analyzing marginal cost associated with these two scales. Let’s say figuratively a company sets up an industrial headquarters in a poor part of the country, or a distant country. They do this to maximize profit with low rent/cost of property owning in a place like these mentioned above. Say they have a pipe excreting waste material directly into a controlled lake. Environmentally fish are now found with increased toxins, which then affects humans indirectly through contamination and people become sick. If there is now a lawsuit made against this company asking for “x” amount of dollars, the company should have the right as long as they are still abiding by law to continue using this lake. What the company should do is factor in the cost of cleaning up the waste/paying out the people in the lawsuit vs their total profit. If their is a decrease in profit and a further decreased benefit for people using the lake then the company should make an economically based decision not to if it in their eyes is all about money.

 

Let me elaborate more on the environmental side of things in relation to marginal benefit that speaks to me as an avid fly fisherman. Many new dams are being created in up and coming areas especially in the west and the northwest. For me as a passionate fisher, I look at these dams with a negative view solely based on the fact that they prevent treasured fish like trout and salmon both for recreation, the environment, and intrinsic reasons. On many forums, magazines, and social media sites, it seems like everyday that I get an update on a new petition  

To remove or stop a dam from obstructing native runs of fish species. I never sign them but regardless, if there is such a loss in marginal benefit to an area because of its establishment, then dams should not be utilized. My only internal argument against this is that is the profiting is high, job creation is also high, and based on the fact that it is green electric that is being made then it makes up for its shortcomings environmentally. Overall it is not an issue that should be looked at one sided like Rob Nixon has formulated his argument from. You have to factor in other important features of industry rather than immediately assuming all they are is bad.

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Immediate Steps For Smith Island

There are only a few societies in this country that remain as disconnected as Smith Island. This community lies 13 miles from Crisfield Maryland in the Chesapeake Bay. Over the past half century the problem many associate with this area as well as other islands in the Bay is erosion and sea level rise. This problem is chronic to islands of the bay, however it should not be thought of as the number one issue on Smith Island. Smith Island will need to focus more on their existence in the short term, strengthening themselves economically and structurally to protect their culture. The constant fear of the economy crashing on the island due to the loss in population numbers, and the need for new industry has me convinced that for its long term preservation this should be addressed first. Specifically, for the people of Smith Island who are not too convinced in the changing water levels, building a stronger economy is more feasible to rally behind.

 

Overtime, especially in the past 30 years, Smith Island has experienced a great reduction in population numbers which has both imposed on their way of living. For perspective, at a population of around 500 people in the 1990 census of the island, this number now is just under 300 people (Smith Island Vision Plan Released, 2015). A loss of community with that proportion is detrimental to their ways of sustaining decent economic standing on the island (Smith Island Community Profile)As of 2000 the mean income per person on Smith Island was $23,996, with women making around 9.5% more income than men (Smith Island Community Profile). The primary full time male employment opportunity on the island historically has been seasonal watermen making up 32.5% of jobs on the island (Smith Island Community Profile). The issue here is apparent that this job is slowly becoming less and less appealing to men and which can lead them to seeking job opportunities else where such as the main land (Smith Island Vision Plan Released, 2015). To help protect this business we can assess the Released Final Vision Plan for Smith Island. This was produced in response to rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy and the proposed buyout of homes on Smith Island, and was directed to how the small island can prosper and not tank economically. The number one goal brought forward from the council is to protect the watermen culture that exists on the island. The hope is to revitalize the industry by setting up crabbing coop operations that will retain more money locally, as well as pushing for MD fisheries Advisory Committee to allow for increased licensing opportunities for watermen (Smith Island Vision Plan Released, 2015).  

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(Photo taken by myself of a local waterman at Smith Island)

The other side to the overall influx of money to Smith Island is tourism. Tourism lies in a situation of what could possibly be the true future of smith island especially with what some islanders describe as fluctuating fishing industries. The main issue seen when traveling to an island like this is a focused job market. Apart from being a watermen, working at the info center, waiting at the restaurant, or possibly working at the elementary school, it is hard to visibly see opportunity for a job on Smith Island. Tourism could in fact help boost job opportunity on this island. Surprisingly when visiting Smith Island there are little hands-on ecotourism opportunities being that the island is described by many as the “pearl of the Chesapeake”. There are no active tours to explore the marina’s or soft shell pound houses to learn about the most iconic feature of Smith Island which is its soft shell crab harvest. In addition, currently only one sportsman’s outfitter runs out of Tylerton (Smith Island Community Profile). This to me is shocking due to the biodiversity of underwater systems present in the area. While looking deeper into this, common harvest of fish off of smith island are most notably Rockfish, Red Drum, Black Drum, and Bluefish. All species of choice for sport fishermen over the Atlantic Coast. To market this as a larger industry with more available boats to take out and accessible lodging could increase longer term stays on the island rather than the day visitors that frequent the restaurant and museum.

 

With the thought in mind to diversify the island’s economy, a new sustainable harvest can be set in place for watermen to both ease pressures on local fisheries and the pressures of wild harvest numbers. This opportunity is present in oyster aquaculture. This idea made perfect sense when brought up by local Watermen Mark Kitching who is starting to dabble in this industry with a partner from Philadelphia, PA. To gain a better understanding of the possible incomes obtained by medium scale oyster farming operations, a report released by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science was released documenting profit margins of this business. Situationally let’s use a model based on somewhat average repercussions like having a mortality rate of 40%, and an average market price of $0.30 an oyster. With raising of upwards of 250,000 to 1,000,000 oysters, a waterman can make a gross profit of $104,266, and a net average of $66,266 factoring in expenses for new equipment needed for the process (Medium Scale Cultchless Oyster Crop Budgets, 2012). The amount of income possible in this industry could truly diversify the economy of Smith Island, as well as attract more job seeking individuals to the area. These estimates can easily be surpassed with an increase of oysters planted, thus giving us a rough middle ground approximation. There is a need however for investors in this industry because it takes around three years for an oyster to reach harvestable size. Finding the right investors or banks to aid Smith Island in this industry could take pressure off of both local watermen financially, and provide a whole new industry for them to capitalize on.

 

In summation, when trying to achieve long term success, short term practical goal setting is the first step. The example present with an already worsening economy on Smith Island and a lack of opportunity is a larger threat to its existence. For me it would be an interesting economic assessment to see how a pretty controlled community is or is not able to shift trends to a positive direction. Really the present markets that should be tapped into is the increase of tourism or the revitalization of the watermen industry. Both these tasks require a ton of planning and investing, but could also payoff more in the short term rather than the creation of a totally new industry like oyster aquaculture as aforementioned. For long term markets that very well could sustain a steady income to Smith Island, oyster aquaculture could be a viable solution that does require much investment, but will eventually pay off within a decade or less based on current models. With a strengthened economic state the Island then also stands a better chance with developing upon its infrastructure to overcome other issues that may challenge their existence such as hurricanes, erosions, and rising sea levels. Overall there is hope for this Island in the rich culture that lives there, it’s just a matter of proper planning and the correct investors to help rebuild this community.

 

Works Cited

 

Medium Scale Cultchless Oyster Crop Budgets , Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, www.vims.edu/research/units/centerspartners/map/aquaculture/docs_aqua/Examplemediumscaleoysterbudget.pdf.

 

Smith Island Community Profile. NEFC/NOAA.GOV, www.nefsc.noaa.gov/read/socialsci/pdf/MD/smithisland-md.pdf.

 

Smith Island Vision Plan Released | CBI – Consensus Building Institute, CBI, http://www.cbuilding.org/news/smith-island-vision-plan.

Smith Island Expectations

I first visited smith island on a mission trip for church back in 2012. This little island sparked my imagination of both its existence and the environment around it. It really stood out to me that how could a little group of people last for as long as they have in such an unforgiving body of water such as the chesapeake. I was only introduced to concepts like food and culture of the island on my first visit, but after recently reading Bay Country by Tom Horton last year, I could see there are other complexities facing this community. The most notable in Horton’s piece is how the island is slowly on a downhill spiral through its population, economics, and rising sea waters.

 

With people migrating away from the community of Smith Island as well as an elderly population left behind, there is an inherent danger on this community which is total loss of population. In Bay country, Reverend Henry Zollinhoffer is highlighted as a kind of spokesperson for Smith Islanders. The strong presence of the Methodist church in the community almost means that Zollinhoffer has a good idea of the happenings at all time. In regards to the population Zollinhoffer has noted, “that in six years here he had buried nearly 10 percent of his friends and neighbors” (Horton, p. 115). This means that in such a small community a loss of this many people in the 80s could reflect an overall decline from the population of 800 fifty years prior to 600 people in the 1980 census (Horton, p. 115). “This is almost a one third loss in population in half a century” Horton mentions, which seriously hinders the overall progress/stability of the island (Horton, p. 115).

 

This decline of population as well as other factors such as lower oyster and crab harvests also can explain the worsening economic standings of Smith Island. The main source of income of the island is either tourism or the seafood industry, and to have a community on the decline, this dissuades any waterman to want to come to the island (Horton, p. 115). The only things that keep people coming to Smith Island is best noted by Horton when he notes that, “day-tripping tourists and retirees or second home owners lured by the ridiculously cheap prices of property here” (Horton, p. 115). It really is a fear that the loss of an economy here could directly impact the island’s appeal to newcomers or keeping people here to work and live which could in result in the overall loss of this Smith Island’s rich culture.

 

Another issue facing the island which was briefly noted by people of the island highlighted in Horton’s Bay Country is the loss of island. This to the people of Smith Island has one key factor which is erosion, but to many studying the bay as well as Smith Island has another key factor which is water levels rising. In some areas the land accretion can be marked by nearly 600 feet which clearly is an issue whether it be due to erosion or rising sea levels (Horton, p. 133). When learning about this contradiction in viewpoints of Smith Islanders and claims made by environmentalists it is clear that Smith Islanders are quick to reject climate change as a possible factor in the loss of land overall of their island. It is interesting that a community so engaged in the environment could be so indifferent about scientific evidence which to me could just be a part of their culture. When visiting I would like to gain a better understanding on why they are so against the ideas of sea level rise.

 

All in all, it is hard to fathom that after first visiting the Island once and now studying it especially through the works of Tom Horton there are so many inherent dangers facing its existence. These dangers do not look like they are improving in any way either. The worsening conditions of population size, economics, and loss of land all can provide deeper insights to the future of Smith Island which does not look bright. Visiting it a second time in the upcoming weeks will be much more intriguing to the current happenings on the Island especially with the aspects of its culture and people.

 

Horton, Tom. Bay country. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.

Convenience of Photography

The connectedness to your surroundings can be expressed through art. From this semester, I have developed my sense of place through photography. Being consumed enough in photography, I have brought my camera around with me outside the course to document hunts, and other excursions in the area. Reflecting on these pictures allows me to remember the scenery and details of the memory very well. After reading an article recently called “Why you should stop taking pictures on your phone–and learn to draw“ posted by The Philosophers’ Mail highlights the usefulness of drawing in comparison to simply taking pictures.

In class this week we practiced drawing skills like contour and gesture drawings to express our visual sights and emotions in a documented piece. The only problem I faced in this was my ability to draw and allow myself to enjoy the activity like I do with photography. A main point the article previously mentioned makes is that with drawing more detail is analyzed. The article highlights the thoughts of John Ruskin on painting vs photography. Ruskin worked to campaign for four years in the late 19th century to get people back to drawing while the camera was currently gained popularity(The Philosophers’ Mail, n.d). The main goal of his campaign was that drawing teaches people to see regardless of their skills (The Philosophers’ Mail, n.d). For me I can see his argument being that I have little artistic skill, yet drawing makes me focus more on the shape and structure of the scene rather than just pointing a camera and making sure it’s focused.

I disagree with the fact that the majority of people should convert back to drawing because of the pure convenience photography has. In a fast moving world, photography can be more appealing and detailed to the common person’s eye. Even back then, painting requires much time and unless you are very skilled with a trained eye, it is hard for someone else to look at your quick contour or gesture drawings or sketches. With photography one can easily show another a picture which then can be further interpreted by the individual. I feel much more connected to a photo documenting exact colors and depth rather than looking at someone’s drawings and struggling to interpret what exactly the scene looked like of felt like.

In summation however there are perks to a painting, I just don’t believe that it is better for everyone in their documentation methods. I personally enjoy photography and find the convenience of it much more accessible than pausing life to create a depiction of a moment that other people probably will have a hard time to connect to. Photography can also be widely shared through technology as well which also makes it easier to communicate its meaning and importance. There could be a point in my life where I can see myself drawing at a much later age, but this world moves too fast for society to try to keep up with a sketch. With my new interest in photography, I have communicated more thoughts and emotions to people who view them than is possible with my poor drawing skills. It should also be noted that for me in the journeys of semester to stop and put learning aside to compose a half hearted drawing that lacks many details does not lead to an efficient learning process. I may try to give drawing a chance when I have the time, but for now photography has me convinced about its effectiveness. IMG_7977.JPG

(This photo is both convenient to send to people via technology, as well as its ability to provide absolute details of the scene I was surrounded by coming back from my farm the other night)

Citation

“Why you should stop taking pictures on your phone –and learn to draw.” The Philosopher’s Mail, The School of Life, thephilosophersmail.com/perspective/why-you-should-stop-taking-pictures-on-your-phone-and-learn-to-draw/.

Marriage of Agriculture and Conservation: The Cover Crop Aspect

As I reflect on the ebb and flow of the Chesapeake Bay in regards to the ever changing harvests, I am drawn to the works of Aldo Leopold, a famous philosopher and conservationist. In his  piece “The Land Ethic” from his famous work of A Sand County Almanac published in 1949, he tells of such issues between land use and ecological health. As described by Aldo Leopold the main motive for decision making and the environment is driven through an anthropocentric point of view. This is made mention especially in the chapter called “Substitutes For Land Ethic” when he discusses the flaws of conservation regarding the issues economics plays on it. He brings up the point of this decision making through the mindset of landowners by explaining:

 

When the private landowner is asked to perform some unprofitable act for the good of the community, he today assents only with outstretched palm. If the act costs him cash this is fair and proper, but when it costs only forethought, open-mindedness, or time, the issue is at least debatable (Leopold, 1949).

 

This makes a fair point for one who depends on his or her land to make a living, but lacks proper land ethic in concerns for ecological health. For example, in the Bay region it is widely understood of the harms to the environment both on land and the water from large scale agricultural practices. The landowners practice agriculture of mainly corn and soybeans in the area which entails the use of some 980,000 acres of farmland in 2016 (USDA/NASS, 2016). One particular issue seen when planting crops like these is the sedimentation runoff from the land into the Bay. Though costly, a solution to this is to plant what is known as a cover crop which is planted typically in the fall after a harvest of a crop like corn. The benefits to establishing a field of a cover crop, typically in this region winter wheat is used, is varied and in a statement released by Maryland.gov they, “ have a proven track record of protecting waterways from nutrient runoff, controlling erosion, suppressing weeds and improving the soil for the next crop” (Maryland Department of Natural Resources, 2017).

Why in the world would a farmer, who is connected deeply to his or her land, not want to implement such a beneficial system? The clear answer to almost all conservation measures from the thoughts of Aldo Leopold is money. The concern for the land owners well being financially over the health of the land further can be explained by the government’s attempt to incentivize this agricultural program through a subsidy to grow the cover plant winter wheat. A grant for $75 an acre was established by the government to provide the incentive to grow this plant in a harvested field, thus explaining the flaws of conservation through an economic purpose (Maryland Department of Natural Resources, 2017). Still this appeasing offer hasn’t caught the attention of all farmers in MD. In the same year that 980,000 acres were planted for corn and soybean harvest, only 360,000 acres of the cover crop was planted (USDA/NASS, 2016).

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(This is a photo I took of a typical soybean field in Kent County which can also be seen all around the state of Maryland)

One would imagine that it is in the best interest of the farmer to follow through with this program, but clearly the 36% of acreage participation has not convinced the total farming community. This flaw of placing a price tag on conservation is clearly seen here and because of the lack of support now, will only grow if the payout for the implementation of cover crops increases. Now matters are left in the hands of government spending which creates a new issue driven solely by economics. By analyzing Leopold’s claims made in his works of A Sand County Almanac, it is clear humans are and will continue to be driven to conserve only if it benefits them.

In my eyes, though government spending requires active taxation from the people of this country, I believe it is the only way to come to a compromise with land owning and conservation. They most likely would not implement a practice like this not out of the goodness of their heart, because to provide the cropping of winter wheat it requires both money and time. This is where conservation and having a farm like business can coexist although it isn’t ideal based on having true land ethics as a landowner.   

 

Works Cited

Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac. London, etc., Oxford University Press, 1949.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources, “Maryland’s 2017-2018 Cover Crop Program.” mda.maryland.gov/resource_conservation/Pages/cover_crop.aspx. Accessed 1 Oct. 2017.

USDA/NASS 2016 State Agriculture Overview for Maryland,“2016 STATE AGRICULTURE OVERVIEW.”www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/Ag_Overview/stateOverview.php?state= MARYLAND. Accessed 1 Oct. 2017.

Stalking Journey 1

From the earliest settlement at Jamestown to later plantation style living around the shores of the Bay, humans have used technologies crafted to suit the Chesapeake area in order to exist. For a civilization to thrive in this particular area one of the most critical things the peoples of the region must overcome is how to adapt to fulfill their own needs. More specifically the technologies used to survive lead for the evolution of settlement, colonization, and plantation style living in the region. These adaptations as aforementioned, were well documented and obvious on our journey as a class to historical sites around the Chesapeake Bay such as the Jamestown Settlement, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Harriet Tubman Museum.

Beginning with the first English settlers to land on Jamestown in 1607, the need to survive was already present. Surrounded by marsh, Jamestown was not the most ideal living conditions to men who were by no means trained for survival. The lack of knowledge and the limited supplies brought over put settlers in a position to adapt to regional foods and natural resources. To do this they built relations with the indigenous peoples of the area and learned from their ways to survive in this location. Evidence of this is found especially in artifacts collected in dig sites of the original settlement. Pointed out by Senior Staff Archeologist Danny Schmidt, a few examples from the dig site that suggests this adaptation of technology are the seeds of pumpkin and other native species that the indigenous peoples used and most likely gave the settlers. Most specifically noted, this was then backed up in a lecture given by Professor Kate Livie when she made mention of this assimilation by the colonists to native culture and practices especially agriculturally. This suggests that early agricultural practices existed to aid the settlers nutritionally in order for their survival. Other artifacts mentioned were axes, spades, hooks used for fishing, and many others that can closely be linked to the adaptation these colonists undertook to extract the natural resources in the region to survive. Evidence of wells were abundantly found showing that colonists utilized ground water as the primary watering source which again exhibits the implantation of technology for the survival of colonists.

After the earliest settlement of Jamestown finally sustained its existence and more people and supplies arrived continuously, the colony of Williamsburg was established in 1658. While visiting Colonial Williamsburg on this journey it seemed there was much less of a struggle for survival. One specific idea that lead me to believe this was found in the infrastructure of the colony. As discussed by Dr. Seidel, in some of the earlier structures of buildings, a Mortise and Tenon building structure was used which featured lumber as the main building material. This system utilized specific interlocking pieces of wood to hold up a frame of the building (Seidel, 2017). This was seen in early Jamestown settlement, but later the shift during colonization went to a more materialistic approach of Georgian architecture which focused on the use of bricks formed from naturally occurring clay from the region (Seidel, 2017). When visiting both Jamestown and Williamsburg this evolution of technologies used sets a clear example as to how the people progressed as a colony in the later parts of the 16th century. Plantations in the area also exhibited both of the structures as well but wealth played a role in if one could afford a more grandiose Georgian style house, but both are clear examples of the adaptations taken by early Americans to expand on this new territory.

Lastly, food security was instrumental in the building of this region. When first learning about the simpler advancements that took place dating back to even before the Contact Period, Natives would use methods such as smoking to preserve meats, as well as utilizing clay pots and other cook ware to make food more accessible to both young and old members of society (Seidel, 2017). As discussed by Dr. Seidel, the method of using pottery to cook allowed food to be prepared in order for mouths of both young and old members in society to eat which could let mothers to wean their children earlier, thus being capable of having more children. Smoked fish could also have allowed for more food access in the harsher winter months of the year, which again provided Native societies to have food security to grow (Seidel, 2017). Another take on the development of technologies in the region for survival can even be seen in the enslaved peoples of the 17th to 19th centuries.

For me I came into this journey thinking food wasn’t too much of an issue with slaves working on plantations during these times, but in reality this could not be further from the truth. During both our interview with Janice Canady a local slavery interpreter in Colonial Williamsburg, as well as the trip to the Harriet Tubman museum, it was apparent that slaves were undernourished. After working during the day, slaves would have time off to sleep. This period of time was precious to these peoples so they found ways to supplement their diets using what they could forage, hunt, or grow themselves. Present in the slave quarters we visited in Colonial Williamsburg, were fish traps, beans hanging to dry, a large bowl for cooking, and a brick fire place. The traps clearly showed how slaves adapted to this region for they were a technology that did not need constant monitoring but still provided supplementary nutrition to them. Another feature of a common slave house was the typical “Trunk” garden, a smaller plot of land they would grow to further add to their lacking diets. All of these examples allow us to get a better understanding on how specific technologies such as agricultural practices, cooking ware, or trap making, on how the assimilation to one’s surroundings allowed for existence on this land.

In summation, this Journey through time could accurately represent the constant need for technology to implement an improved lifestyle on the Chesapeake Bay. Starting even before colonization, we could see how Native populations sustained a growing population with implementing technologies like pottery and smoking racks to provide food security for many months of the year including the winter. This then is later on seen once settlers arrive utilizing local knowledge on the complexities of agricultural practices in the area and other means of natural resource extraction through the archaeological discoveries of fishing hooks, axes, and spades to help nourish and build their society. Colonization in Williamsburg also displays a plethora of technologies in specific the development of architectures to use first wood as the primary building material then through advancement of technologies moving to the more materialistic stable structures of Georgian architecture for those who could afford it. Slavery during colonization and until its abolishment in the 19th century also features an array of how a culture maintained its living using technologies like traps, cooking materials, and those involved in agriculture. This idea of the changing of technologies to adapt to the environment is still seen in modern day Chesapeake and will continue to evolve in time as it did in the time periods studied on Journey 1 of the Chesapeake Semester.

Viewpoints on Eastern shore Slavery

For this blog I am trying to dive deeper on an issue not readily discussed on the eastern shore due to touchiness of the subject matter. The issue I am looking into is the use of slave labor on the eastern shore itself. It is very hard to believe that being within an hour or so drive from the Mason Dixon, slavery was still present in this area. I never truly was aware of this matter being that normally I have heard only of stories of slavery occurring deeper in the south. Looking into it, there were many slave owning plantation style properties dispersed through this region. One particular case study done by Maryland.Gov Legacy of Slavery In Maryland’s Archives examined Queen Anne’s County Poplar Grove Plantation. I have actually sailed past this property on several occasions and always have wondered about the mysteries of its past.

In a nutshell, this plantation was owned by Thomas Emory from the 1820s to 40s who owned slaves during this time (Maryland State Archives). One interesting thing about this case study was not about enslaved Africans, but the fugitive populations of formerly enslaved peoples in the area. This brought great concerned to people like Mr. Emory, who at the time was very vocal in local governments (Maryland State Archives). In 1837 he voiced his thoughts in the “Report on Governor’s Message, Abolition (Series 13, p. 241)” about how this group of free people in the area caused once happy slaves serious unrest and that they were “incompatible” to live in this area (Maryland State Archives). This led to a series of suggestions among the whites of this area such as possible laws to inhibit freeing slaves, possible colonization of the existing freed slaves to places like Liberia.

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(Pictured Above: Emory’s Plantation Main House Courtesy of Maryland.Gov)

Looking at these issues I am very confused and baffled by this conflict. I come from a family who once owned land in the early 1900s, well after the Emancipation Proclamation, but the thing is this property was in existence during the slavery area so I could only imagine what sort of impacts slavery had on it and what the landowner was like prior to my family owning it. Stories like Emory’s including wealthy land owner John Tilghman still resonate through time telling of slavery and its darker secrets.

This whole investigation I understood could relate to the essay “Trace” by Lauret Edith Savoy in her own lineage and descent from Washington D.C. slavery. She spoke of how slavery impacted her ancestors and the other slaves in the area during the creation of our nation’s capital. Low and behold, she went looking for the burial sites of her family members. Overgrown and disorganized, she mentioned the lack of importance for the cemetery to the community throughout time and gave up on the search for these sites. It can relate to this area to the kind of blinders put up around this matter.

It is interesting to see for myself what actually went on in this area and to me it is slightly haunting. Never the less other parts of this area’s history is rich in culture and good spirits that I have grown up hearing about.

 

“Maryland State Archives.” Legacy of Slavery in Maryland,       Maryland.gov, http://slavery.msa.maryland.gov/html/casestudies/poplar_grove.html. Accessed 10 Sept. 2017

Savoy, Lauret E. Trace: momory, history, race, and the American landscape. Berkeley, CA, Counterpoint, 2015