The Hidden Town Project at Old Salem

The origin of Winston-Salem is in the Wachovia Tract, which the Moravian Church created in the 1750s. European- and African-born and derived people built the community, but the relationship between the two was not one of equality and involved slavery.

St. Philips Moravian Church is the only historic Black Moravian church in the United States and is a touchstone for the African American experience. Moravian archival records tell us much about the past, and the Hidden Town Project is a research-driven initiative to identify people of African descent and to understand their life within the white Moravian world. It is also a project of public awareness and community engagement.

Recognizing that we live our history, we can use insight from the historical record to respond to the persistent, deep inequities and injustices in our time, to repair past wrongs, and to move forward in human relationship. Understanding truth in history is basic to the conversation. This illustrated presentation will explore hard history in Winston-Salem.

This lecture will be presented by: Martha Hartley, Director of Moravian Research and Co-Chair of the Hidden Town Project at Old Salem Museums & Gardens. A native of Winston-Salem, she received undergraduate degrees from Hollins College and spent a year in Paris during college. From the University of Virginia, she received a master’s degree in Urban Planning and a Certificate in Historic Preservation.

She is a Preservation Planner with varied experience including community preservation, advocacy, and public awareness. For over 35 years, Martha and her husband Michael, anthropologist and Director of Archaeology Emeritus at Old Salem, have worked together with the archaeology, history, landscape, and preservation of the Moravian communities in the Winston-Salem area. For their work, they have been honored to receive The David Schattschnei-der Award for Excellence from the Center for Moravian Studies, the Robert E. Stipe Professional Award from Preservation North Carolina, the Archie K. Davis Award from the Wachovia Historical Society, and the Hall of Fame Community Service Award from the Liberi-an Organization of Piedmont. The Minnette C. Duffy Landscape Preservation Award from Preservation North Carolina to the Bethania Historical Association was on behalf of Hartley’s work.

The event is finished.


Jun 15 2021


3:00 pm - 4:00 pm