Cabins prove slaves were Alabama's early iron workers

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Archaeologists sifting the ruins of a small cluster of slave cabins in central Alabama have unearthed an oft-forgotten facet of Southern slavery.

In the South, slavery has been most closely associated with antebellum plantation life. But here, on a hillside just a stone's throw from the massive blast furnaces of the Tannehill Ironworks, the remains of a cluster of simple cabins attest that slaves were also pressed into service in the South's first industrial labor force.

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