Stories of the Enslaved

For many years, due to lack of first hand accounts, documentation, and other information available, the story of the enslaved individuals at Hampton was difficult to tell. In recent years the National Park Service has made a collaborative effort to bring the stories of the enslaved to light and bring back the voices of those whose voices were stifled for many years. This attempt to tell the complete story of the history of Hampton National Historic Site has allowed for several stories to be highlighted below.

Learn about Slavery at Hampton






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  • A drawing of people at nighttime on a dirt road
    Freedom Seekers

    Learn all about people that would seek their freedom from Hampton.

  • Enslaved workers working on the plantation farm by the overseer's house and slave quarters.
    Slavery at Hampton

    From the colonial period through 1864, the Ridgelys enslaved over 500 people. Enslaved persons, from young children to the elderly

  • Hampton Carriage House (built c. 1850, image c. 1897), location of religious services led by Eliza R
    Religion and the Enslaved

    African Americans hosted their own religious services in the woods at Hampton and attending religious meetings with neighboring groups of fr

  • Living Historian demonstrates the 19th century technique for harvesting corn.
    Free Black Laborers

    Free Black Laborers worked at Hampton for various reasons. A good amount did to eventually purchase their family members.

  • Artist depiction of the iron making process.
    Working Conditions

    Accounts of the working conditions of the forced labor iron works.

  • An artist's depiction of an overseer in the fields watching the enslaved. With a whip behind back.
    Forms of Control

    From physical to mental abuse for the youngest ages to the oldest. Learn about the harsh truths and forms of control.

  • Painting of Night scene of a battlefield with soldiers standing by cannons. Background are camps.
    Hampton During the Civil War

    The Ridgely's passed their lives without worry until it became apparent that a civil war was about to impact their lives.

  • c. 1897 image of a tenant farmer woman outside the Enslavement Quarters. NPS
    Revealing the Lives of the Enslaved

    A recent Ethnographic Study uncovered major information on the lives of those enslaved at Hampton and their descendants. Read about it here.

  • Woman, named Ida Cummings; Her left hand on her chin & her right hand on her hip
    Descendants of the Enslaved

    Learn about the amazing things the descendants of the enslaved would go on to do!

Last updated: May 24, 2024

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