A few years back, Vernon Brogden and his daughters Pamela and Sheila along with Wanda Watts and her family learned their ancestors lived as slaves in a cabin on a patch of land on Belvoir plantation just outside Annapolis.
They’re emotional when they talk about it.
Vernon Brogden, now 89, says, “My thought is my ancestors really went through something.”
Sheila Brogden Jefferson says, “It humbles you. It makes you quiet. You go into a deep place.”
The discovery in 2014 of the slave cabin was made by Julie Schablitsky chief archaeologist for the Maryland State Highway Administration.
At the site, she unearthed dozens of bits of centuries old tobacco pipes she believed were used by slaves so she sent one to a DNA lab.
The findings are earth shattering. The DNA test determined the person who smoked the pipe 200 years ago was a woman most closely related to the Mende people of Sierra Leone.