Public is invited to hear historian speak on his work bringing attention to former slave homes
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — April 15, at Historic Travellers Rest, Joseph McGill of the Slave Dwelling Project will be sharing photographs and stories about his visits to former slave dwellings then staying overnight in the 1820 Weaving House. In its lifetime this original outbuilding has functioned as work space and living quarters and now houses a new exhibit detailing the lives of the enslaved people of Travellers Rest. Wednesday, April 15, at 7 pm Travellers Rest is hosting a reception for McGill and the public is invited to attend.
McGill is based in Charleston, S.C., but travels the country talking with community members and staying overnight in the dwellings of former slaves. He has stayed in homes of former slaves in Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. After his Tennessee trip he is headed to Virginia to stay at Montpelier, the home of President James Madison.
McGill’s interest in staying at Travellers Rest was piqued when the historic site opened its new exhibit, A Past Uncovered: The Story of the Enslaved People of Travellers Rest. The exhibit incorporates the slaves of Travellers Rest into the story of the historic site, sharing small details about the people who lived and labored building the farm of the Overton family. The Weaving House, where McGill will stay, was once home to two former slaves, Claiborne Hines and Sandy Hughes, who occupied the building after the Civil War. On display in the building is a working four harness floor loom, spinning wheel and other instruments used in the production of cloth. A weaver named Matilda, once a slave at Travellers Rest, would have used such equipment in her work in this building.
About Travellers Rest For more than fifty years, Travellers Rest has been an integral part of the Nashville community. The historic house, built originally in 1799, was restored by The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in Tennessee to interpret the early 19th century life of Judge John Overton, one of the state’s first Supreme Court Justices, the founder of Memphis and a close personal friend of Andrew Jackson. The property serves as a gateway for learners of all ages to explore Nashville’s historic past. For more information, please visit www.travellersrestplantation.org.