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
2016 Conference

2017 Conference

Information about the upcoming 4th Annual Slave Dwelling Project Conference in Charlottesville, VA

Goodwill Plantation Living History

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Slave Dwelling Project Overnight Stays

2017 Schedule

We have a lot in store for 2017! 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 2017 Conference in Charlottesville, VA on Wednesday, October 18th – Saturday 21st – Thank you!

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

Slavery in Delaware

My sleepover at Dickinson Plantation in Dover, Delaware had a lot of moving parts. I first visited Dickinson Plantation two years ago with staff members of Cliveden in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On that visit, the site manager of Dickinson and I made a verbal...

Slavery In Wisconsin

Some relationships keep on growing. Chris Lese is a history teacher at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I met Chris in 2012 at a Civil War conference at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. At that point, the Slave Dwelling Project...

Tampering With Comfort Zones

I had seen her kind before, young, energetic, enthusiastic with the penchant do the right thing only to go back to sell the idea of the Slave Dwelling Project to a board of directors whose interest is to maintain the status quo. Fairleigh Jackson is the Executive...


In 2016, the Slave Dwelling Project was awarded a grant from the South Carolina Humanities Council to conduct living history programs at four sites throughout the state. More specifically, the grant enabled us to assemble a cast of African American living historians...


  A simplistic idea of sleeping in slave dwellings has evolved into something that can help heal this great nation of its historical trauma. That historical trauma is the legacy that slavery has left on this nation. The Slave Dwelling Project is now doing far...

The Slave Dwelling Project 2017

After six years of existence, the mission of the Slave Dwelling Project is evolving therefore, board members of the Project are in the process of contemplating internally how we must proceed into the future. We are working with professional fundraisers and partners to...

Belle Grove Plantation and Slave Dwellings as Classrooms

When I attended the National Preservation Conference in Savannah, Georgia in 2014, I met Kristen Laise, Executive Director of Belle Grove Plantation in Middletown, Virginia. Kristen and some of her board members attended a Black history tour that was sponsored by the...

When Slave Cabins Don’t Exist

It is always my desire to sleep in places where slave dwellings are extant. That opportunity does not always present itself, yet all efforts that interpret the existence of the enslaved Ancestors should be rewarded. My opportunity to spend a night on Edisto Island,...

Slavery in New York Part II

I get the most pushback when I tell people that I have slept in extant slave dwellings in five northern states. Those five states being Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. There is pride associated with the ties that northern states...

The Student Becomes the Teacher

I got the opportunity to use a slave dwelling sleepover as a teaching tool when I was called on by my former employer the National Trust for Historic Preservation to present at a Preservation Leadership Training that they were conducting. The event was cosponsored by...

“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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