On Your Way Back

Black people escaping slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries often encountered continued hurdles to their freedom. The Maryland legislature at various times tried to force freed slaves to leave the state and in 1832 took a census of free blacks to facilitate their removal to Liberia.

Unpaid wages from labor during slavery meant that black people faced an uphill battle in acquiring land and building businesses to support themselves. Segregation took hold after the Civil War and, like other places, Easton experienced violence during integration. The Hill Community’s history is that of a people working together for freedom in the face of these setbacks.

The people here bought land and built businesses to become self-sufficient. They formed their own churches so they could worship freely. They passed their cultures and traditions from generation to generation.

Free African Americans have contributed greatly to life in Easton since the town’s beginning, but their stories were not included in earlier histories. In beginning to tell this story, we hope to encourage further discussion about how communities are formed and what stories are told.