The beginning and future of African American archaeology in Mississippi

Amy L. Young, University of Southern Mississippi

Abstract

Nearly a decade ago, Theresa Singleton challenged archaeologists to begin investigations of black life in Mississippi, but only recently has a systematic program begun. In 1995, a program in the archaeology of African American sites in Mississippi was implemented at the University of Southern Mississippi. While still in the early phases of work, a number of sites have been located and tested in various regions in Mississippi. These sites range from antebellum cotton plantations to black communities of the early-20th century. The success of the initial stages of this program is due in large part to the development of partnerships with various agencies including African American preservation groups in Mississippi. The importance of working with descendant groups and conducting oral histories and ethnographic studies has been stressed in this program in order to make the most accurate interpretations possible about African American life from slavery to contemporary times in Mississippi and to ensure African Americans are involved in these interpretations.