June 1 - Stories from Our Land: A Discussion About the Role of the Natural Environment and Landscape in People’s Journeys to Freedom
Panelist include: Dr. Matthew Reeves, Director of Archaeology and Landscape Restoration at James Madison's Montpelier, Michael Carter, Jr. owner of Carter Farms and Small Farm Resource Center Coordinator for the Small Farm Outreach Program at Virginia State University, and Rebecca Davis, PhD Candidate at University of California, Santa Cruz and Oral Historian for the Montpelier Memorialization Project.
Virtual Panels are held every Thursday in June at 7pm EST.
Meet the Panelists
Michael Carter Jr. is a 11th generation American/farmer, and is the 5th generation to farm on, Carter Farms, his family’s’ century farm in Orange County, Virginia where he gives workshops on how to grow and market ethnic vegetables. With Virginia State University, he is the Small Farm Resource Center Coordinator for the Small Farm Outreach Program. Virginia Association of Biological Farmers (VABF) and Virginia Foodshed Capital have him sit on their respective board of directors. He also serves as the state coordinator for the Black Church Food Security Network and as the food safety coordinator for the Six State Farm to Table organization. He acquired an agricultural economics degree from North Carolina A&T State University and has worked in Ghana, Kenya and Israel as an agronomist and organic agricultural consultant. As a cliometrician, curriculum developer and program coordinator for his educational, cultural and vocational platforms, Hen Asem (Our Story) and Africulture, he teaches and expounds on the contributions of Africans and African Americans to agriculture worldwide and trains students, educators and professionals in African cultural understanding, empathy, and implicit bias recognition.
Rebecca Davis is a Ph.D. candidate at UC Santa Cruz and a former archaeology technician at Montpelier. She recently accepted a position as the Oral History Officer, working with the Montpelier Descendants Committee and The Montpelier Foundation to assist with efforts in memorialization.
Her research goal is to understand how African Americans who were enslaved or worked on this landscape could navigate and intentionally create space and place. If Montpelier’s “space” is the warp: the scale, size, and design used to enforce a rigid system of economy, power, and control, the “place” is the weft of human experiences and actions: the development of survivance strategies, and meaning-making; the threads of daily life confined by the frame, but creatively woven through practice and resolve. My new role as the Oral History Officer is to help incorporate these critical historical accounts, both pre and post-emancipation, into the broader narrative of the Montpelier landscape.
Matthew Reeves has been the Director of Archaeology since 2000 and leads the overall archaeological research at James Madison’s Montpelier. Dr. Reeves is the principal investigator for all archaeological projects on the property. Over the past two decades, Dr. Reeve’s research has focused on plantation life, Civil War encampments, and an overall focus on sites of the African Diaspora (both pre- and post-emancipation). Prior to Montpelier, he directed projects at Manassas National Battlefield Park, Jefferson Patterson Park, various New York DOT projects, and has worked on a wide variety of historic and pre-contact sites in Maryland, Virginia, New York and Jamaica. His doctorate is from Syracuse University and focused on 19th -century settlements of the enslaved in Jamaica that he spent two years surveying and excavating.