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Exhibition Date

November 2023


paper, Sintra, wood paneling, wood, clay pottery, wood table, quilt, doily, photographs, cotton stalk


The exhibition chronicles the lives of people who lived and worked on family’s plantations in Calhoun County before and after the Civil War. The first section introduces the Morgan family and focuses on the will of Samuel Morgan Jr. Morgan Jr.’s will and estate appraisal included proof of his ownership of several slaves. At the time of his death in 1857, fourteen men, women and children are listed as his property and given a monetary value, ranging from $200 each for an elderly female and a female child, to $1300 for an adult male. Sam Morgan Jr. bequeathed the land and the slaves to his sons upon his death with the request that the married slaves not be separated, if feasible, and that his descendants would purchase the slaves if a sale was necessary to execute the will. Those 14 slaves were named Peggy, Cato, Joe, Dan, Henry, Nancy, Dick, Mira, Allen, Matilda, Mary, Martha, Margaret, and Charlott [sic]. The question that first guided this research was “What happened to those 14 enslaved persons after Samuel Morgan Jr.’s death in 1857?” Optimistically, the hypothesis was that Morgan’s last requests were fulfilled and those slaves remained attached to the Morgan family and as cohesive family units, meaning that enslaved husbands and wives were not separated. There are four information panels. From left: Panel 1: Family tree illustrating my connection as descendant of the family and highlights the ancestors discussed. Panel 2: The names of the 14 persons held in bondage on Samuel Morgan Jr.’s plantation. Panel 3: Documents and excerpts from Morgan’s will and estate holdings that list the names of the enslaved persons and their value at market. Panel 4: Explanation of the goal and processes of researching the 14 enslaved persons. Other items include pine paneling from an ancestor’s home, portraits, wooden table with Alabama clay vase and cotton stalk, antique quilt made by my great-grandmother.


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The MFA Thesis Exhibition was held in the Hammond Hall Art Gallery.