Brooklyn in the Civil War
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Interior of slave kitchen

Bergen Homestead

According to The Eagle and Brooklyn, Vol. 1, by Henry W. B. Howard, this kitchen was part of the Bergen Homestead in Brooklyn, New York. This substantial fireplace is where the slaves would have done their cooking for the Bergen family. Slaves themselves often lived in tiny wooden cabins, and, depending on the area of the country they lived in, may have cooked outside.

Sojourner Truth describes another kind of accommodation: "A cellar...was assigned to his slaves, as their sleeping apartment--all the slaves he possessed, of both the same room...and the space between the loose boards on the floor, and the uneven earth below, was often filled with mud and water..." (Gilbert, Olive, editor. The Narrative of Sojourner Truth (1850), dictated by Sojourner Truth, edited by Olive Gilbert.) George Washington used pre-fabricated temporary shacks for his slaves, which were moved following seasonal crops.

Citation - Document 4
The Eagle and Brooklyn, Vol. 1
ca. 1850s
Brooklyn Public Library – Brooklyn Collection

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