‘Our Land’ Explorers Seek To Find Land Settled By Maroons in Georgia

Deep in Georgia, visitors may be stepping on sacred ground rooted in the history of slavery. The land in question comes from the descendants of the Maroons—the brave souls that escaped slavery to live in the wilderness, the New Yorker reports.

Novelist and nonprofit founder George Dawes Green and 13 others traveled to the land about 20 miles from Savannah, Georgia, to find any remains of a “fortress” built in the 1780s. Legend has it that close to 100 formerly enslaved people once lived there and secured their new homes with a wall, weapons, and guards until white military leaders found the sites and burned them to the ground.

After Dawes Green’s novel, The Kingdoms of Savannah, was published last year, several archeologists, historians, and wanderers are traveling there to see if they can find any artifacts buried within. However, archeologist Rick Kanaski said he didn’t think he would find much but would be able to get a sense of what life was like for the Maroons. “Eventually, we’ll be able to tell some life stories about these individuals who were essentially creating their own community, and reclaiming their own individuality, and their own personhood, and their own society, so to speak,” Kanaski said. “We’ll get a sense of place.”

The land is called Abercorn Island—also known as Belleisle. Kanaski and other explorers presented at an event in July, making a case to bring these stories out of the shadows. According to Savannah Now, he created a process that could identify the locations of the Maroons and possibly recover items from the communities. While it’s been close to 200 years since their demise, uncovering a lost history would draw wide support.

The Maroons didn’t just settle in deep Georgia. Some of them made it to Florida to Prospect Bluff within the Apalachicola National Forest.