The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Great dismal swamp

    The Secret Lives of America’s Fugitive Slaves

    Sometimes, the swamps have secrets, and this one is a doozy. Archaeologists in the United States are finally learning more about long-neglected “maroon” societies — isolated colonies of runaway slaves — that existed for hundreds of years deep in the Great Dismal Swamp of North Carolina and Virginia. Though the vast swamp is thick with mosquitoes and rattlesnakes, many ex-slaves thrived in maroon communities, free from oppressive masters. The discoveries upend a lingering conventional narrative that slaves lacked a drive towards self-determination and depended on white Underground Railroad rescuers to make it to freedom.

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