Highway construction unearths 1860s black homestead (Maryland)

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State highway officials contacted the Rev. Spencer E. Jackson a few weeks ago with astonishing news: They had found the remnants of a homestead that belonged to his great-great-grandmother, a freed slave.

Less than two miles from his church was a remarkably preserved site, full of artifacts that provide clues to 19th-century black life. Eyeglasses, fragments of dolls and an 1860 Abraham Lincoln campaign medallion are among the discoveries that help tell the story of Melinda Jackson, who bought the property in 1869.

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