Honoring the first African American community of formerly enslaved people in North Carolina.
CIRCA 1850 SLAVE QUARTERS
This circa 1850 slave quarters was renovated and moved from its original location on the site of the antebellum Meadows farm, now the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Neuse Blvd.
Few such quarters still survive today, including this building preserved by the JCHS. It follows the common architecture of a duplex with two front doors leading to separate dwellings, each with a central fireplace and sleeping loft.
Depending on the slaveholder's desires, such a building could house up to 30 people. Some slaveholders allowed families to live together, others crammed unrelated people together. All power belonged to the slaveholder.
Under dire circumstances, the slaves who lived in these quarters forged a life for their families.
Tools typical from 1860 to 1870 are displayed in the quarters to recreate what life was like for people in that era. Women used spinning wheels to make thread for homespun clothing, and they cooked in iron pots over an open hearth fire. Men plowed fields for planting, with a mule harnessed to a hand-forged iron plow. Even children worked in the fields, and looked after the littlest ones. Slavery treated people as property, like animals, with no human value.