Historical Archaeology

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 100–112 | Cite as

Homeplace Is also Workplace: Another Look at Lucy Foster in Andover, Massachusetts

Original Article
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Abstract

Racialized captive labor in Massachusetts was carried into the 19th- and early 20th-century landscape. Data from the census on the occupations of people in households were limited until 1850. Women’s labor was invisible. Yet, it is known that the labor of women required a plurality of roles and functions. This is especially true for African American women, who, with limited opportunities for employment, often found themselves in the same working relationships they had in captivity. Lucy Foster, in Andover, Massachusetts, was one such individual. As a captive African and a free person of color, Miss Foster performed many undocumented duties in her lifetime. However, when her archaeological assemblage is analyzed in light of the plurality of labor duties required to maintain a household and the census data for people of color in Andover, the daily life of a single Black woman emerges. Lucy’s large ceramic collection might be indicative of a focal point in the African American community for religious and national holidays and Black commemoration celebrations.

Keywords

African diaspora archaeology African American archaeology African American Massachusetts women labor plurality 

Extracto

La mano de obra cautiva racializada en Massachusetts llegó hasta el siglo XIX y principios del siglo XX. Los datos del censo sobre las ocupaciones de las personas en los hogares fueron limitados hasta 1850. La mano de obra femenina era invisible. Sin embargo, se sabe que la mano de obra de las mujeres requería una pluralidad de roles y funciones. Esto es especialmente cierto en el caso de la mujeres afroamericanas, con oportunidades limitadas de empleo, que a menudo se encontraban a sí mismas en las mismas relaciones laborales que tenían en cautividad. Lucy Foster, en Andover, Massachusetts, era una de esas mujeres. Como cautiva africana y como persona libre de color, la Srta. Foster llevó a cabo muchos deberes indocumentados a lo largo de su vida. Sin embargo, cuando se analiza su ensamblaje arqueológico a la luz de la pluralidad de deberes laborales requeridos para mantener un hogar y los datos del censo para personas de color en Andover, surge la vida diaria de una mujer negra soltera. La gran colección de cerámica de Lucy podría ser indicativa de un punto focal en la comunidad afroamericana para fiestas nacionales y religiosas y celebraciones conmemorativas negras.

Resumé

Le travail racial des captifs au Massachusetts a été porté dans le paysage du 19e siècle et du début du 20e siècle. Les données du recensement sur les professions des personnes dans les ménages étaient limitées jusqu’en 1850. La main d’œuvre féminine était invisible. Pourtant, on sait que celle-ci exigeait une pluralité de rôles et de fonctions. Cela est particulièrement vrai pour les femmes afro-américaines, qui, avec des possibilités limitées d’emploi, se sont souvent retrouvées dans les mêmes relations de travail qu’elles avaient en captivité. Lucy Foster, à Andover (Massachusetts), a été l’une de ces personnes. En tant qu’Africaine captive et personne libre de couleur, Mlle Foster a rempli de nombreuses fonctions sans papiers dans sa vie. Cependant, lorsque son assemblage archéologique est analysé à la lumière de la pluralité des tâches du travail nécessaires pour maintenir un ménage et les données du recensement pour les personnes de couleur à Andover, il apparaît la vie quotidienne d’une femme noire célibataire. La grande collection de céramiques de Lucy pourrait être révélatrice d’un point central dans la communauté afro-américaine pour les fêtes religieuses et nationales et les célébrations de commémoration noire.

Notes

Acknowledgments:

I would like to thank Bradley Phillippi for inviting me to contribute to this thematic issue. Additionally, I would like to thank Vivian B. Martin, Ph.D.; Robert Paynter, Ph.D.; Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Ph.D.; the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology Phillips Academy, Ryan Wheeler, Ph.D., director; Bonnie Sousa, senior collection manager/registrar, the late Eugene Winters, Jr., honorary curator; Barbara Brown, deputy director (retired), Immigrant Museum Lawrence, Massachusetts; Elaine Clements, executive director, Andover Historical Society; and Inga Larson, curator of research and archival materials, North Andover Historical Society.

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Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ethnic and Gender StudiesWestfield State UniversityWestfieldU.S.A.

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