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Maroon Communities

  • Dismal Swamp Canal Trail, 1246 Dismal Swamp Canal Trail, Chesapeake, VA 23322
  • Phone: (757) 382-6411


A life of freedom deep in the Swamp.

During the American colonial period, groups of enslaved people seeking freedom established communities far from plantations. Choosing a life of isolation in heavily wooded or swampy areas as an alternative to enslaved life on plantations, some of these communities were sustained for many years. While Maroon Communities existed elsewhere in the South, it is likely that those in the Great Dismal Swamp were the most solidly developed. The 2,500-square-mile cypress swamp on the Virginia-North Carolina border was dense, murky and largely impenetrable. This made it possible for the communities to live in freedom and endure for generations.