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Letter to the Editor By "Henry Miller "

Name
Henry Miller
Email
henrym@digshistory.org
Subject
Corrections to story on St. Mary's Slavs
Message
Editor's note - This letter was forwarded to our now-retired staff writer, Joseph Norris. The writer is taking issue with some of the comments from an interview subject in a recently published story. Joe: As always we are grateful for your good work and long interest in the history of this area. However, about the article on the Slavonics. It is a matter of fact that the HSMC museum has been concerned with the Slavonic community and preservation of their sites for the past 40 years. Garry Stone did interviews about them and we recorded some of the buildings as the college destroyed them, such as the Slavonic meeting house that once stood on the corner of Fisher Road and Mattapany. I wrote the scope of work for the Athletic Field Survey and specifically provided the information about the full tract history and the school house as a known site that needed to be preserved (See pages 9 and 10 of the attached Assessment as my proof). This was in April of last year. This is not a document to be shared with others but only provided to you as proof to demonstrate that the documentary research was all done by HSMC, and that the School site was Not some sudden discovery. Furthermore, HSMC has had a major role in the effort to preserve the Slavonic sites including the tobacco barn that stands near Rosecroft Road and protects several domestic sites of the Slavonic immigrants. Last year, I briefly recorded and photographed the last Slavonic building standing on college property, a barn on North Field. Hours later, it was burned down by the college, without any detailed architectural recording or even photographic documentation. The only recording of this interesting building are my notes, which are attached. However, it is a draft and not suitable for sharing, as I need to do more research and produce a final report about it. My long interest in this group was perhaps spurred by the fact that the only other community established by the National Slavonic Society in North America was only 20 miles from where I grew up in Arkansas. Also, back in the 1990s, Ruth Mitchell and I found two slave quarter complexes on the other side of Mattapany Road. They are partially covered by the Guam parking lot. The college did adjust the method of construction so the sties could be preserved under it. As the attached Assessment will show, these sites were noted and it suggested that similar sites would be found on the other side of the road, as proved to be the case. From the article, it appears that only Dr. King has ever given any attention to this immigrant community or their sites. That is completely false. While I do not expect her to give any credit to others, this was quite disappointing. There are other archaeologist and historians interested in this part of the world, possessing knowledge of it, and have devoted equal if not greater portions of their lives to its study and preservation. We want the record to be as accurate as possible. Sincerely, Henry Miller