Round House African American Museum Digital Project


A terrible picture that I made of the C clamp that Oliver Freeman used to build his structures.


One of his art pieces with the shell motif that is routinely found in African American cultural objects.


A blurry picture of a glass washboard. I didn’t know such things existed before I saw this one.


A well-used shoe shine box, with all of its accessories.

Yesterday I brought all of he artifacts related to the great builder, Oliver Nestus Freeman, that are housed at the Oliver Nestus Freeman Round House African American Museum to the NC Digital Heritage Center at UNC Chapel Hill.  There the photographer made digital images of all of the 3D objects while the 2D objects were scanned by the over head scanner (we called it the Zeutschel at USC) or by the overhead digital camera. It was really interesting seeing the photographer at work.  I helped him arrange the objects and he made many pictures trying to get each one just right.  Soon the images will be up at the Digital NC website for all to enjoy. In the near future more materials will be taken from the ONF Round House Museum to be digitized so stay tuned.

Stagville Plantation


The rear of the Bennehan house at Stagville. It was originally built in 1787.


Michael Twitty and his glorious pork ribs.


Bennehan family cemetery.

Last Saturday my son and I went to the Harvest festival at Stagville Plantation outside of Durham, NC.  Stagville was owned by the Bennehan-Cameron family was on of the largest plantations in the whole Antebellum South.  It was an immense 30, 000 acres and had 900 slaves that toiled in its fields and buildings.  The large numbers of slaves means that an exponential number of contemporary African Americans can claim descent from Stagville area.  And on a recent visit to the North Carolina collection at UNC Chapel Hill I read some letters on display that several slaves had written.  The most intriguing one was from an enslaved man on a buying trip for the master.  Reading about the plantation is one thing but visiting it gives you a sense of place and time.


One of the three slave cabins that were built in 1850

The festival was fun, I met Michael Twitty who is sometimes called the Antebellum Chef and is an expert on African foodways.  We tasted some of the pork he slow cooked over coals right in front of us while he shared some insights into the cuisine of the nineteenth century.   Other re-enactors also shared stories and we explored a pre-Revolution farm house and toured one of the three, two story slave cabins that were built in 1850.  Also we rode in a wagon pulled by a team of ornery mules and my son chased some chickens.