My work wrestles with the societal and ideological tensions in defining freedom within the United States south during the nineteenth century. Specifically, I highlight African American efforts toward cultural and political assertion in the Great Dismal Swamp region. My focus also includes environmental impacts resulting from the extractive industries that originated in the Great Dismal Swamp alongside the exploitation of enslaved labor. Building on the work of archaeologists, historians, and novelists, my work maps (or rather counter maps) the experiences of enslaved runaways and laborers who were exposed to the Great Dismal Swamp and the long duree of the attendant political, social and environmental costs of human/landscape resource exploitation.