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Michal Scott: African-American History Exhumed
Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

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African-American History Exhumed

If asked to place African-American slavery and freedom geographically, most people automatically cite the South with the former and the North with the latter. But did you know slavery existed in the North as late as 1860? I’ve spent many enjoyable hours unearthing the hidden and not so hidden history of African slavery in the North. One of my best resources is The African Burial Ground National Monument (ABGNM) at 290 Broadway in lower Manhattan, which not only instructs but inspires.

ABGNM’s exhibits show the lives of northern slaves had much more in common with their southern counterparts than that of Boston slave poet Phillis Wheatley. The 24-foot high Ancestral Chamber—designed to resemble a ship’s hold—provides a place for remembrance and prayer. The walls of the Ancestral Libation Chamber’s Circle of the Diaspora surround you with symbols from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean as you spiral down a processional ramp that brings you “physically, psychologically and spiritually close to the ancestors and the original interment level.”

Rarely do we realize how we are witnesses to history in the making. I received a blast from my native New Yorker past as I read ABGNM’s timeline and the five scrapbooks that chronicle the community activism I witnessed on the news and read in the local papers that ultimately led to the creation of this national monument.

In 1989 before excavating to build a new federal building, records showed the proposed site was once an African burial ground. It is estimated that 15,000 free Africans and African slaves were buried in the “Negros Buriel Ground” from the 1690’s until 1794. Government researchers concluded that “after 200 years there are no remains, but recommended archeological testing.” Test excavations proved the assumption wrong. Untouched human remains protected by 25 feet of soil were discovered.

A whistle blower call to the office of then State Senator David Patterson revealed that the government was going to do a “backhoe” excavation, i.e., use a backhoe on the grounds decimating whatever was there. The caller asked could their office do anything to stop it. Community indignation and activism combined with political will resulted in the halting of excavation on the site. Meetings were held, enabling the community to give input on how to go forward. The result was the creation of the African Burial Ground National Monument in 1993. A multidisciplinary research team, African Burial Ground Project, recorded and measured the remains of 419 men, women and children. The project concluded in 1999 and the remains were re-interred on the site in handmade coffins from Ghana.

The African Burial Ground National Monument is an amazing amalgamation of videos, interactive exhibits and displays that show the effectiveness of community activism, strengthen my sense of African American pride and stimulate my historical romance writing imagination.

How about you? Where and when has a museum visit, a book or a conversation sent you on a journey of discovery?

Follow this link for more information on the landmark itself:


Better To Marry Than To Burn

Freed Man seeking woman to partner in marriage for at least two years in the black township of Douglass, Texas. Must be willing and able to help establish a legacy. Marital relations as necessary. Love neither required nor sought.

Caesar King’s ad for a mail-order bride is an answer to Queen Esther Payne’s prayer. Her family expects her to adhere to society’s traditional conventions of submissive wife and mother, but Queen refuses. She is not the weaker sex and will not allow herself to be used, abused or turned into a baby-making machine under the sanctity of matrimony. Grateful that love is neither required nor sought, she accepts the ex-slave’s offer and heads West for marriage on her terms. Her education and breeding will see to that. However, once she meets Caesar, his unexpected allure and intriguing wit make it hard to keep love at bay. How can she hope to remain her own woman when victory may be synonymous with surrender?

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She locked her legs and glared with her hands on her hips. Defiance flashed in her eyes like a bronc not yet broken. “I haven’t agreed to your terms.”


“I’ll be honest with you then. You’ll have to force me.”

He crossed his arms. “That’s not the way I want it.”

She crossed hers. “That’s the only way you’ll get it.” The impudence of a Black who had never known the overseer’s whip ripped through her tone.

He blinked into her glare. Would she really make him force her? He wanted her willing submission, but what if he couldn’t obtain it? The anticipation of the struggle, of her eventual surrender flipped his stomach.

And not in a bad way.

“I will, if you make me.” He grabbed her upper arms and pulled her tight against his chest. “Remember, I’m no gentleman.”

The soft but firm press of her breasts more than pleased. He flicked his tongue behind her ear, tasted lemon soap, perspiration and enticement.

She broke away, chest heaving. “You have to be one hell of a negotiator, Mr. King to get me to yield on that point.” She’d spoken rapidly, breathily. He heard capitulation in her panting, despite the insolence in her glare.

“I’m known in these parts as a mighty fair horse trader, Mrs—”

He froze, stunned by the sight of Queen squatting. She reached between her spread thighs and withdrew a dark rubber phallus. He gawped, amazed how the strange contraption mirrored his aching member in size and shape.

“Wha—what in the name of heaven are you doing with that?”

“Preparing me for our first time.”

He groaned, captured by thoughts of the dildo priming her for his use.

“You are full of surprises, Mrs. King.”

She walked to the washstand, doused the phallus with water and laved it with his own sage-scented soap. A vision of her doing the same to his cock knocked him back a step. Yes, dinner could definitely wait.

Suddenly, he stiffened. The meaning of her earlier words penetrated.

There are many ways to prevent your seed from taking root, Mr. King.

“Wait a minute.” He pointed a shaky finger at the dildo. “That wasn’t in your sex when I fingered you in the wagon. I’d have felt it.”


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Twitter: @mscottauthor1

2 comments to “Michal Scott: African-American History Exhumed”

  1. Jennifer Wilck
    · October 31st, 2018 at 8:23 am · Link

    Wow, that’s fascinating and so inspiring that the remains were able to be properly and respectfully buried.

  2. Michal Scott
    · October 31st, 2018 at 2:07 pm · Link

    The visitors center has video of parts of the ceremony. Very moving. Thanks for stopping by Jennifer.

Comments are closed.