Laupus Library exhibits “Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America”

Laupus Library is hosting the traveling exhibit “Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America” in the Evelyn Fike Laupus gallery on the fourth floor of the library.

On display from Aug. 28 through Oct. 7, the six-banner exhibit looks at the Chesapeake region, where European settlers relied upon indentured servants, Native Americans and African slave labor for life-saving knowledge of farming and food acquisition, and to gain economic prosperity.

By examining the labor of slaves and food practices of the time, including those at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the exhibition explores how power was exchanged between and among different peoples, races, genders and classes during the early colonial era.

“I’m really excited that Laupus was selected to host this exhibit, primarily because eastern North Carolina is situated adjacent to the Chesapeake region and so this history hits close to home,” said Beth Ketterman, interim director of Laupus Library. “We’ll be able to supplement the panels and digital materials with artifacts and archival materials from our collection which I think will add an important dimension for our visitors.”

An online version of the exhibition available at features a range of resources for educators and students, including two lesson plans developed for elementary and high school courses, a higher education module for undergraduate and graduate students and instructors, online activities, and a compilation of online resources. In addition, it offers a digital gallery of 18th-century materials on food, botany, health and housekeeping from the NLM collection.

The exhibit is available during operating hours posted at, or call 252-744-2219.

The exhibition was brought to you by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

For more information contact Kelly Dilda at 252-744-2232 or