Enslaved Community Cabin

This cabin, located directly behind Sweet Briar House and adjacent to the Sweet Briar Museum, is the only extant architectural remnant of the enslaved African-American community — which numbered more than 130 souls in the late 1850s — at the Sweet Briar plantation. It is one of only a few such structures still standing in the region. After emancipation, a few dozen African-American families stayed nearby and continued to work at Sweet Briar as paid laborers. This was true of Indiana Fletcher Williams’  formerly enslaved employee (and her daughter Daisy’s companion), Martha Penn Taylor.

In recent years, the College has made special efforts to honor the significant contributions of the Sweet Briar community’s African-American members, such as: clearing brush from and re-dedicating burial grounds; acknowledging their lives and work in Founders’ Day and Homecoming events; installing educational markers; welcoming family reunions to campus; and incorporating their story into the history and curriculum of the College.

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