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The Robinson House Print text

Like the goods we buy, the way we organize our houses and the space around them may also be an indicator of cultural identity. Aspects of African heritage can be seen in the manner in which African Americans constructed their homes and used the surrounding space.

Many African peoples, both enslaved and free, lived in small houses that opened onto communal areas or yards. While their homes were used for storage and sleeping, the communal spaces, yards, and porches were used for cooking, household chores, and other domestic activities.

These external spaces were considered extensions of the house, serving as places where family members could socialize with others in the community while they worked. In this way, social ties with other African Americans were strengthened and their sense of community was reinforced. This may have been the Robinson family practice as well. 

  (photo) Robinsons' porch & outbuildings.
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(illustration) House plan.

The small Civil War-era house had a large porch that opened onto outdoor work areas.