Daughter overnights with dad who works to preserve slave dwellings

Dear Readers,
About Our Freedom is quite honored to publish this article and photographs submitted by Jocelyn and Joseph McGill recounting their recent stay at Middleton Place.  What a great example of teaching the rising generation and encouraging them to cherish history.

Keep up the good work Jocelyn.  Many youth will be inspired by your experiences. Your dad is involved in a very important work. It is so wonderful that you gave up the comfort of home to see what things were like for slaves long ago.  Thank you for sharing this great moment with us.  We look forward to hearing from you again.  

Robin Foster
About Our Freedom
Middleton Place,  Jocelyn and Joe McGill.

Slave Dwelling Project 2011
Written by:  Jocelyn and Joseph McGill
While I am anxious to tell the world all about what happened with the Slave Dwelling Project since my last overnight  stay at Brattonsville Plantation on Saturday, November 6, 2010, I must respectfully restrain myself.  My most recent stay was Saturday, March 12, 2011 at Middleton Place in Charleston, SC.  I was thrilled to be accompanied by my 14 year old daughter Jocelyn on that night.  The next three paragraphs will be her account of that experience.  Unfortunately, her desire to stay far exceeded her desire to write about the experience so here goes.

Eliza's house, Middleton Place.
Jocelyn McGill

When I got there I looked around the cabin we were going to sleep in. The cabin that we stayed in was one of the first buildings I saw when I walked in.  I thought it was going to be very small and dirty, but it was actually spacious and clean.                

Middleton Place, Jocelyn McGill petting mule.

While I was there I walked around to look at the animals. They had sheep that had some lambs, goats, Ginny hens, a mule, peacocks, chickens, ducks, a horse, water buffaloes, and cows.   A reporter came and asked us some questions, and after he left, we started a fire and made some s’mores.   A photographer came and took some pictures, and when he left we put the fire out and went to sleep.

When I woke up I went outside and sat in front of the cabin. The reporter came back, and asked more questions.  We walked around and looked at the animals, and I got to pet the horse and the mule. They said there were bob cats, but I didn’t see any.    

Joseph McGill

Jocelyn still has the desire to stay at other sites in the future but I do not know if an opportunity like Middleton Place will present itself in the future.  I am just thrilled that we could spend that quality time together and hope that her participation will inspire a younger audience to be interested in the Slave Dwelling Project.  

In this second year of the project, it will expand to the states of Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Maryland and North Carolina.  The overnight stays are now interspersed with lectures and public interaction when feasible.  At least two additional outlets will publish the blogs of each stay.   Francis Marion University in Florence, SC has provided funding for a research assistant.  The South Carolina National Heritage Corridor is assisting with researching extant slave dwellings within the corridor.  The Magnolia Plantation and Garden’s foundation has provided some funding for the project.  A documentary about the Morris Street Slave Dwellings in Anderson, SC has been produced.  A local artist is painting a picture that will interpret and benefit the project.  I am consulting with property owners on what should be done with slave dwellings that they possess.  Several well capable property owners have offered to relocate dilapidated slave dwellings to their properties for restoration.  The future for the Slave Dwelling Project looks bright.

Learn more:

Charleston's glory days end

Effort to preserve slave cabins enters 2nd year

Honoring Slaves By Sleeping In Their Cabins

Contact:  Joseph McGill, Jr. | Program Officer, Southern Office
National Trust for Historic Preservation | William Aiken House, 456 King Street, 3rd Floor, Charleston, SC 29403 | Phone: 843.722.8552 | Fax: 843.722.8652 | Email: joseph_mcgill@nthp.org | www.preservationnation.org



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