304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

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Monday to Friday: 7AM - 7PM
Weekend: 10AM - 5PM

Interactive Map

Location and movement are at the heart of this project and the interactive map feature below gives some sense of that. Natchez, because of its proximity to the Mississippi River, abundant natural resources in terms of flora and fauna, and human settlement patterns extending back thousands of years, is an area rich with complexity. From the early 18th century onward, enslaved and free Black people wove themselves into the variegated communities of diverse inhabitants. Along with local Native American groups like the Natchez and the Choctaw and all the various European groups that governed the area beginning with the French, the British, the Spanish, and finally white Americans, they helped shape the “City on the Bluff” in countless ways. For Black people within this project, movement was expressed in the shifting between legal categories such as “enslaved,” “free,” “imprisoned,” “indentured,” and “re-enslaved,” all salient conditions for free Black people. It also entailed the physical movement between geographical spaces whereby people traveled to and from Natchez, carrying their cultural worldviews and practices that diffused along the routes of migration they took. Finally, there is the metaphysical expression of movement by which free Black people shifted from one racial identity to another, “passing” as white or Native American to protect their freedom and to succeed in a deeply racialized society.[1]  

To explore this map feature which highlights several free Black individuals and families and gives a snap shot of their lives in Natchez and ties them to physical locations in the city, scroll over and click into each of the black circles with stars. Each one gives a brief case study and maps them onto the landscape. Alternatively, click on the icon located in the top left of the blue bar next to “Adams County” to see a listing of them all. When one is selected, you can read the summary and see any related images. Additionally, the star on the map will be highlighted to show the specific location. 


[1]  Nik Ribianszky, Generations of Freedom: Gender, Movement, and Violence in Natchez, 1779-1865 (University of Georgia Press, 2021), 8.