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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Edgewater in Anne Arundel County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Java Plantation Life

The Songs of Sorrow

 
 
Java Plantation Life Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, February 10, 2015
1. Java Plantation Life Marker
Inscription.  By 1840 there were 84 African American slaves on the Java Plantation, a large number for the area. Almost half were children. On a typical day the slaves would rise before dawn, prepare and eat breakfast, feed the livestock, and be in the fields by sunrise. In the fields slaves might hoe, weed, clear new land, pick insects from the tobacco, or harvest the crop. Mothers took their babies into the fields with them, but young children were often left to take care of themselves. By the age of ten they were put to work.

Sunset signaled the end of work in the fields. Other chores had to be done before a slave had free time to spend with family. Music and dance helped form a distinct slave culture while maintaining ties to their African heritage.

“The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart”
Frederick Douglass

(Inscription under the image in the bottom left)
Using native materials African American slaves made banjos and drums that were similar to those they had played in Africa. They also played homemade guitars, flutes, whistles, and horns.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic

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lists: African AmericansAgricultureEntertainment. A significant historical year for this entry is 1840.
 
Location. 38° 53.355′ N, 76° 32.929′ W. Marker is in Edgewater, Maryland, in Anne Arundel County. Marker is on Dock Road. The marker is affixed to the outside wall of the Java Farm Tobacco Barn. It is on the grounds of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Edgewater MD 21037, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Java Plantation Life (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Java Plantation Life (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Java Plantation Life (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Java Plantation Life (a few steps from this marker); Prized Property (approx. 0.2 miles away); Indians of the Chesapeake (approx. 0.3 miles away); Java History Trail (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Old South River Club (approx. 1.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Edgewater.
 
Java Plantation Life Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, February 10, 2015
2. Java Plantation Life Marker
Java Plantation Life Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, February 10, 2015
3. Java Plantation Life Marker
Java Plantation Life Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, February 10, 2015
4. Java Plantation Life Marker
Noon on the Plantation image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Waud
5. Noon on the Plantation
Close-up of image on marker
Banjo image. Click for full size.
6. Banjo
Using native materials African American slaves made banjos and drums that were similar to those they had played in Africa. They also played homemade guitars, flutes, whistles, and horns.
Close-up of image on marker
Drum image. Click for full size.
7. Drum
Close-up of image on marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 18, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 16, 2015, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 413 times since then and 10 times this year. Last updated on March 17, 2021, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on February 16, 2015, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland.   5, 6, 7. submitted on September 8, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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May. 20, 2024