Starting now through the month of February, NewsChannel 34 is highlighting the contributions and hidden histories of African-Americans across the country.

We begin tonight with a story from Maryland.

NewsChannel 34’s Morgan Wright shows us how archeologists have discovered slave quarters, a slave cemetery, and descendants of slaves that once worked and lived on the land.

Deep in the forest – Sisters Shelly Evans and Wanda Watts walk in the footsteps of their ancestors…The two women share a frustration common to many African Americans, whose ancestors were enslaved in America. 
       
We have no history. We begin and we end here. 

But thanks to a recent…and accidental discovery…the sisters may have uncovered their family’s hidden family… on this piece of land…
         
My three times great grandmother was born here

Evans and Watts are the descendants of slaves who lived, worked, and may have died here…on what was the Belvoir Plantation.

Dr. Julie Schablitsky is the Chief Archaeologist with the Maryland Department of Transportation 
         
When we first came here to Belvoir we were first looking for the Rochambeau encampment which was during the American Revolution.

But instead, they found slave quarters – built in the 1780s and lived in until Emancipation in 1864… 

The land was a tobacco plantation – once owned by relatives of Francis Scott Key, who wrote the Star Spangled Banner.

A former resident of the property tipped Dr. Schablitsky’s team off to what they thought could be a slave cemetery tucked along a ravine, deep in the woods… 

They found nearly half a dozen pieces of broken marble, and stones, resembling grave markers thrown around the location.

But to be sure Dr. Schablitsky brought in cadaver dogs.

Once they picked up a human scent they confirmed it was a cemetery.

For me it was the knowledge of them being buried someplace rather than being tossed away… 

But even so, they may never know for certain… if their family is actually buried here at Belvoir… 

In Crownsville, Maryland, Morgan Wright.

NewsChannel 34 will air a hlaf hour Hidden History special featuring stories from across the country and here at home.

Showtimes are February 9th at 6 PM on WIVT NewsChannel 34 and at 7 PM on WBGH NBC 5.

You can also catch other individual stories our main Hidden History page or Hidden History: Celebrating Black History.