The Slave Dwelling Project

Developing Resources to Preserve African American Slave Dwellings

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Now that I have the attention of the public by sleeping in extant slave dwellings, it is time to wake up and deliver the message that the people who lived in these structures were not a footnote in American history.

– Joseph McGill, Founder of the Slave Dwelling Project

About Us

The Slave Dwelling Project’s mission is to identify and assist property owners, government agencies and organizations to preserve extant slave dwellings. Find out more about how you can help!
Slave Dwelling Project Overnight Stays

2015 Schedule

We have a lot in store for 2015! Send us a message if it looks like we will be near you – we’d love to meet up! Additionally, we hope you will join us for the 2015 Slave Dwelling Project Conference.

This overnight stay highlighted for me in a personal and physical way what the lives of enslaved people might have been like. It made me much more thoughtful about the harsh contrast between the lives of free, privileged, European American slave owners, like my own ancestors, and the lives of the enslaved and intentionally deprived African American people.

– Prinny Anderson, Coming to the Table

Latest Stays

Recent Overnight Stays and Public Programs

I Get by With a Little Help From My Friends

I got excited when I was invited to join a panel at the National Preservation Conference in Washington, DC. The chance to hang out with some of my ex-coworkers of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and continue to network for the Slave Dwelling Project was...

They Lived Where They Worked

Five years of sleeping in slave dwellings has given the Slave Dwelling Project relevance beyond my wildest dreams. Sleeping in these dwellings as well as sharing the knowledge gained through giving lectures is beginning to strike an equal balance. I did not anticipate...

Compromising Missouri and Rhode Island Rebs

When I received a letter from Missouri’s Little Dixie Heritage Foundation in 2010 my first instinct was to brace myself for some language laced with hate. With the Slave Dwelling Project just getting traction and my limited knowledge of southern sympathizers,...

Sleeping Under the Stars in a Gated Community

It is always great when I get invited back to a site for a sleepover. Last year we attempted to sleep under the stars among the ruins of the tabby slave cabins on Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. Mother Nature had other ideas, a violent thunderstorm and rain that...

Sleepovers, White Privilege and Comfort Zones

As I lay in the cabin I couldn’t help but think of the people who had lived within the wooden walls of our tiny room. Oh if the walls could talk; the stories they could tell. The joys of new birth, the sorrow at loss; the immense pain and burden of working so hard...

Historic Brattonsville Revisited

At the invitation of a Bratton descendant, I returned for my second overnight in the one extant slave dwelling at Historic Brattonsville. Although it was a return visit, this stay broke new ground in several ways. First of all, I was the Slave Dwelling Project...

Redcliffe Plantation

“I thought of children who might have been afraid of benign things like the sounds of animals scuffling through the night when there were much larger, darker things that stirred fear in their parents. I thought of mothers, tired from the day’s work, still tending to...

Slavery in New York

If in 1703, more than 42 percent of New York City households held slaves, often as domestic servants and laborers and the last slaves were freed in 1827, why is it that when I interpret slavery in northern states, I often get push back? I can now add the state of New...

Speaking from Beneath the Earth

Now in its fifth year, the Slave Dwelling Project has allowed me to spend nights in extant slave dwellings in fourteen states. The stewards of these dwellings range from private, non-profit, local government, county government, state government and federal government....

“Who Speak Fuh’ We? WE Speak Fuh’ WE!” The work of The Slave Dwelling Project, Inc. is profound. The dwellings that we have to save remind me of a South African word, “Azuka”, meaning “help is imperative”. I am honored to be a member of the Project. We will raise the bar on cultural heritage preservation throughout the United States and abroad. I encourage folks to come on board, “Jine WE.”

– Patt Gunn, Geechee Girl Productions

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I can say that the experience has made me a better person. It’s taught me humility for those who lived daily in the conditions I experienced for only 12 hours. It’s shown me an importance in knowing and attempting to learn about your history. Most of all, it has proven that history is real. Justin Castor, Student

I was thankful for the act of remembrance and the ability to do so in a cultural way; in ways that my ancestors would have been punished for on many plantations. It was there in the sanctuary that I gave thanks of knowing and living the words of the ancestors … “Lest we forget.” My chant to them on the altar was, “You are not forgotten. We remember you with praise and honor.” Toni Renee Battle

All I can say about Joe’s stay and “By the Sweat of Our Brows” is: if you didn’t make it, I’m sorry you missed it. You had to have been there to experience the power. Dontavius Williams, Historical Interpreter, Historic Brattonsville

Slave Dwellings, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston, SC

The Slave Dwelling Project

Developing Resources To Preserve African American Slave Dwellings

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