After a series of meetings with Craig Bennett and Lyles McBratney of Bennett Preservation Engineering PC of Charleston, South Carolina, I am beginning to understand all the work that it is going to take to assess 50 extant slave dwellings in the state of South Carolina. As required by a $25,000 recently obtained matching grant from the South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, the Slave Dwelling Project will take on this work. Because I can easily find 50 or more extant slave dwellings within the county of Charleston, my biggest challenge will be to find these dwellings in other counties in the state.
Thanks to all of you who contributed to the match through the go fund me campaign. That giving opportunity is still available.
Thank you to all who attended the fundraiser at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. Magnolia donated the space to conduct the fundraiser and Executive Director, Tom Johnson volunteered his time to give a garden tour to the attendees. Additionally, all of the participants were treated to a tour of the four restored slave cabins.
Above and beyond donating the space for the fundraiser, the Magnolia Plantation Foundation donated $5,000 toward the match, which was a further act of true commitment to this project.
This upcoming assessment has also been funded in part by a grant from the Terrence L. Mills Fund for North and South Carolina of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. They came through with a grant of $5000.
Volunteers led by Robert Koepper will photograph the structures. Because of this service, more extant slave dwellings will be photographed than will be structurally assessed. This act alone will save structural engineers Craig and Lyles very valuable time so that they will be able to do what they do best.
Students from the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina will assist in obtaining location and history of the some of the sites. This act will also save Lyles and Craig valuable time in assessing the sites.
With all that will be going on with this assessment, we still need the assistance of the public. Our compiled list of extant slave dwellings is constantly growing. To that end, we still do not know where all are located. We also know that for various reasons, some of the stewards of these properties will not want to participate in this assessment. Working with the coalition of the willing will still make this assessment a success. You can assist by helping us to identify some of the extant slave dwellings throughout the state of South Carolina of which we are not currently aware. You can also assist by helping us to match the funds necessary to conduct the assessment. You can make a donation by following one of the following links or you may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about paying by check or conducting fundraisers for project.