SLAVERY AT MIDDLETON PLACE beyond the fields

It is a central tenet of the Foundation’s mission that it should be telling the story not just of the plantation’s white owners, but also its African and African American population. In 1970 – still a time when discussion of slavery was uncomfortable for many historic interpreters and visitors alike – craftspeople in the Plantation Stableyards demonstrated the skills employed by slaves. In 1991, Eliza’s House opened as a house museum; and in 2000 special tours originating from its swept yard began providing a view of the everyday life of the enslaved people – both their labor and the lives they led when their daily tasks were done.

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A deeply researched book entitled Beyond the Fields – Slavery at Middleton Place was published in 2008, the work of a dedicated staff of scholars who spent a decade researching and studying documents in the Middleton Place Archives as well as at research institutions and in public records throughout the United States. The enslaved left few artifacts, personal papers or documents. Even oral histories of former slaves in the Charleston area are rare. But the insights of Middleton descendants, both black and white, now brilliantly inform a recently released documentary bearing the same title as the book. All of these platforms – the tour, the book, and in 2017, the premiere of the film, Beyond the Fields – Slavery at Middleton Place – bring to life the stories of the enslaved.

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