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The Archaeology of Race in the Northeast$
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Christopher N. Matthews and Allison Manfra McGovern

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060576

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060576.001.0001

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The Racialization of Labor in Early Nineteenth-Century Upstate New York

The Racialization of Labor in Early Nineteenth-Century Upstate New York

Archaeology at the Rose Hill Quarter Site, Geneva, New York

(p.78) 4 The Racialization of Labor in Early Nineteenth-Century Upstate New York
The Archaeology of Race in the Northeast

James A. Delle

Kristen R. Fellows

University Press of Florida

A little-remembered migration of southern families moving into the Finger Lakes region in Upstate New York took place in the early nineteenth century. Rose Hill, a Piedmont-style wheat plantation established by one of these families relocating from Virginia, is the site of this study. Initially utilizing an African-descended enslaved labor force which was transplanted from Virginia, the estate made the transition to African American and then Irish tenant farmers as it transformed into one of New York’s leading progressive farms. Through the use of architectural and archaeological remains, we explore how the landscape was used to establish a racialized social hierarchy. The estate’s spatial arrangement was first manipulated by Virginian planters in order to remind their slaves of the hierarchical social order manifested in the “quarter.” However, the racialized space of the slave quarter was later transformed into the racialized space of the tenant “cottage,” where Irish immigrants lived and worked as tenant farmers. By placing the Irish into a previously racialized landscape, subsequent owners of Rose Hill were able to adopt an existing concept of racial hierarchy to the new realities the landowners faced.

Keywords:   African Diaspora, Irish Diaspora, upstate New York, Rose Hill, racialization, labor, landscape

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