CCBC statement on enslavement at the Hilton Estate
Catonsville is located approximately ten miles from Baltimore City in southwest Baltimore County, Maryland. During the 18th and 19th century, Catonsville was utilized for large summer homes for the city's wealthy businessmen. That was the case for the property in Catonsville that came to be known as the Hilton Estate. Since 1678, there have been more than ten owners of the property of which much has been written, however what about the individuals that labored on that land and made the property livable and profitable. The bulk of this property that is now the campus of the Community College of Baltimore County is situated on Rolling Road, indicating that the property was once used for tobacco farming. In addition to tobacco, the land was also utilized for iron production, equestrian pursuits, and other agricultural endeavors, utilizing both enslaved and free Black labor from the very beginning. The Shades of Hilton project is dedicated to telling the stories of the laborers of color that toiled on the Hilton Estate over the course of various stewards. While the Community College of Baltimore County had not been established during the period of African American enslavement, the institution understands the legacy that the practice has upon the institution. Both free and enslaved African Americans made this land what it is today. Many of the antebellum structures that are still present today were built utilizing enslaved labor under violent and reprehensible circumstances. This site provides primary documents, original research, images, curriculum, and other resources to help the researcher of any level garner a better understanding of lives of color at the Hilton Estate and the region beyond.
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Historian-Michelle Diane Wright / IT -Alexis Brown