Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Old Salem

We visited Old Salem on my birthday. I'd never been; apparently if you grow up in NC it is a standard class field trip, but I didn't grow up in NC.

Old Salem is a Moravian community that was founded in the 1760's and still exists somewhat. It was created as a trades town and people were trained in trades (rather than agriculture). You lived in a chorus -- children, young adults (apprentices), unmarried (separated by gender), married, widowed. Girls/Women wore ribbons on their cap to indicate which chorus. Apparently being able to tell what chorus you were if you were male didn't matter. Men were in their late 20's early 30's when they got married and women were in their mid-20's, which is incredible for the times.

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We had cake for breakfast...
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The first Krispy Kreme used to be in the middle of Old Salem, but clearly it is gone now (just the plaque). I wonder if the corporation that manages Old Salem decided it didn't fit in.
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People were buried in their "chorus," so there is a children's section, etc. All gravestones are flat on the ground indicating equality -- seems like this concept really clashed with the surrounding communities.

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Before surrounding communities influenced life here, whites and blacks worshiped and worked together. The African Moravian Church was founded in 1823 -- the congregation still worships in the brick church, founded next store in 1861. The graveyard at the brick church was originally used (1775-1815) as a non-Moravian graveyard. After 1815 it was used for the African-American community. The Moravian Church apologized for participating in slavery in 2006.

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At the African Moravian Church, when they remodeled they didn't worry about keeping the names of the gravestones over the actual graves, and thus they don't know who is who. So they just list them as "child" or "adult." They have all the names on a stone on the building.

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The church still uses it's original electricity system with the same bulbs.

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We had a nice day...
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