Visualizing Early Baltimore

Slave Streets, Free Streets: Stories

This project seeks to recover the lives of early Baltimore’s African Americans, both free and enslaved, and to represent them both narratively and spatially. We do this by telling the stories of individuals whose lives we piece together from scraps of data found in public records and newspapers. We have put these stories into four broad thematic categories, sometimes visualized in different colors:

  • Free Blacks (green)
  • Enslaved Workers (blue)
  • Slave Trade (orange)
  • Fugitive Slaves (red)
  • Whites are not the focus of stories, but may be color-coded in purple at times.
This rendering of a section of Fells Point shows buildings associated with the project’s themes.

These thematic categories are not strictly bounded -- that is, a story about an enslaved worker could intersect with one about the slave trade, or a free black relative. As much as possible we want to capture the messy complexity of life in Baltimore two hundred years ago.

Finally, these stories are all works in progress, not complete narratives.

Sample Stories: