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The Enslaved

Beneath this alley of oaks were 20 double cabins that housed enslaved families from 1829 to 1862. They were the workforce for Marigny's Fontainebleau Plantation and included skilled steam engineers ...

Beneath this alley of oaks were 20 double cabins that housed enslaved families from 1829 to 1862. They were the workforce for Marigny's Fontainebleau Plantation and included skilled steam engineers who managed the power source for the sugar presses and lumber mill. Brickmaking was the site's most profitable endeavor, but capable blacksmiths, schooner crews, masons, sawyers, and ox drivers were also part of the enslaved labor. A shoemaker, seamstress, and field hands were also noted in papers of the time.

Children, with their small hands, fed sugar cane into steam operated presses during harvest. Sugar refining was hazardous work, and a small hospital was kept onsite. Tending sheep, cattle, horses, mules, and oxen was a daily affair.

In 1840, 153 enslaved individuals were documented here including 57 children under the age of 10. The economic panic of 1837, crop failure, and fallen sugar prices led to the 1852 sale of Fontainebleau, further impacting enslaved families. The women, Violette and Bonnine were babies when Fontainebleau was built in 1829, and 23 years later were sold with their own children to the plantation's new owner, Pierre Poutz.

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