VIRGINIA: James Madison Dig Reveals Slave Evidence
At James Madison’s sprawling Montpelier estate, geophysicist Shane McGary and student Michelle Proulx take turns pushing what looks like a lawn mower across fields peppered with horse patties. Below the device, a 400-megahertz pulse of electromagnetic radiation continually sweeps the earth. When the radar hits something interesting, a muddled, staticky curve appears on a display of the machine’s handle bars.
North to south they move, looking for evidence about those who inhabited this land alongside the fourth president of the United States. More specifically, they’re looking for bodies that have been buried from east to west.
“The enslaved generally were buried with their feet facing east so they could get up and walk back to Africa,” McGary says. “So they could walk back home.”
Madison, the former owner of this land and an author of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, once wrote: “We have seen the mere distinction of colour made in the most enlightened period of time, a ground
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