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Southern swamp holds clues about runaway slaves

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By TOM BREEN
Associated Press

IN THE GREAT DISMAL SWAMP (AP) -- A permanent exhibition opening this fall will show how the Great Dismal Swamp became a haven for thousands of people escaping slavery before the Civil War.

The swamp covers about 112,000 acres on the line between North Carolina and Virginia. The exhibition is part of an expanding effort by the National Park Service and other agencies to describe the experience of pre-war slaves.

Michelle Lanier, a curator at the North Carolina Division of State Historic Sites and Properties, says the swamp was just one place that served as an oasis within the South.

Dan Sayers, a researcher from American University, hopes to chronicle how the runaway slaves lived here and how long they stayed.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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