The Slave Dwelling Project: Shining a Light on Our Hidden History

 

I was really sorry not to be able to make it to the third annual conference of the Slave Dwelling Project earlier this month in Columbia, although I'm glad that Karl McAlister, one of my colleagues from Francis Marion University and the main caretaker and docent for our own two extant slave dwellings, was able to participate.

 

The Slave Dwelling Project is a remarkable initiative begun by Joseph McGill, a Kingstree native and former staffer in the Charleston office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to bring attention to the places where enslaved people lived and worked--in the North as well as the South, and in urban as well as rural settings.

 

Here's a photo of Karl (center) and Joe (left) with one of FMU's remarkably well-preserved slave dwellings in the background, during filming for an episode of the public television program History Detectives that aired in 2012:

 

This short video, shot recently during the conference, features Joe; Terry James of Florence, my colleague on the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission and a member of the Slave Dwelling Project; and Bob Weyeneth, a professor of history at the University of South Carolina who has trained a growing cadre of graduate students (myself among them) to explore the legacies of slavery and racial segregation on the state's built environment. It's a brief exploration of the last extant slave dwelling on the USC campus and gives a taste of the work of the Slave Dwelling Project.

 

Keep up the good work, Joe!

 

 

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