By Sarah Fiorello

The ancient craft of creating and using blue dye made from the leaves has been practiced by West African artisans for centuries. Clothing made with the richly-dyed cloth signifies prosperity and social status. Between the 1740s and the 1770s, indigo was a significant commercial crop grown on southern plantations, especially in South Carolina, where it was planted, cultivated, harvested, and processed into dye by enslaved people and was used to dye high quality cloth worn by upper class Europeans.

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