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Meet the Colonists

Photo of Amy-Kristina Herbert
Name: Amy-Kristina Herbert
Age: 27
From: New York

Amy-Kristina Herbert is an actress and adjunct professor of speech in New York City. As a single woman, she was assigned an identity that was likely for the 17th century -- a widow. Without a husband and household, she lives with the Voorhees family.

"I learned more from this project than I ever thought I would. More than how to cook, or what a ferkin was. I knew it would be hard to do this project being a Black American, and at times it definitely was; slavery had already begun in some parts of the land by the same year that we were supposed to be in the Colony. But I got to explore what being from this country meant to me in a way I never would have before. Though my family has been in this land for hundreds of years, this colonial life wasn't part of my culture. I couldn't help but think about what my ancestors were doing at this same point in time. They were either already slaves, or destined to be within a few years. I realized that the history of my culture does go back as far as this colony. Though I don't agree with so much politically about this country, there are issues of racism and marginalization, and though I do not come from the colonists, I do come from this land despite the fact that my ancestors were slaves. That day when we were out in the hot sun trying to plant the corn, understanding that historically the colonists' lives depended on it, I could see that, honestly, if it weren't for the Native Americans and the African slaves, the colonists would not have thrived the way they did. I have had people tell me that I am not really American because I am Black, but so much of America comes directly from us. It has never been so clear to me how we built this country."

1628 Profile:
Amy-Kristina was the wife of a blacksmith, one of the most respected and prosperous of all the trades. She is proud to be a prominent member of the tradesman class. Her husband was recruited for the Colony, and was to be paid significantly more than he made in Bristol. Indeed, as tradesmen, blacksmiths were critical members of the colonies, so they took great pride in their status, and revenue. As a recently married couple without children, they were also ready for an adventure. Unfortunately, when a disease swept through the ship on the voyage over, Amy-Kristina's husband took ill and died.

His death has left her in a very uncertain state. She has no source of income so the Governor has temporarily attached Amy-Kristina to the household of the Voorhees. There, she must answer to the authority of John Voorhees, who will retain her shares of Company stock on her behalf. In the long term, Amy-Kristina will have to remarry if she stays in the Colony - or indeed in any of the colonies. The alternative might be for her to return home, if the opportunity presents itself.

Video Diaries:

Amy-Kristina notes a double standard in the conversation over punishments. Watch the video.

Amy-Kristina assesses the challenges of being a single woman in 1628. Watch the video.

Amy-Kristina explains that things are getting better on the Colony. Watch the video.

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Photo of Amy-Kristina Herbert
I have had people tell me that I am not really American because I am Black, but so much of America comes directly from us.

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