Slave Dwelling Project in Holly Springs

According to the Preserve Holy Springs and Marshall County Facebook page, Joe McGill of The Slave Dwelling Project will be spending the night in two Holly Springs slave quarters during Pilgrimage (April 13-15) and helping visitors understand these historic places.

Mr. McGill, a historian with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a Civil War re-enactor, began staying overnight in slave cabins as a summer project in South Carolina in May 2010. Since then, his “Slave Dwelling Project” has expanded in scope to other states and sites. On his blog, he notes his goal to bring attention to the “other houses” besides the “Big House” at house museum sites and assist in their interpretation and preservation:

As a Civil War re-enactor, I am accustomed to immersing myself in the history I interpret, as a program officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation I am already committed to preserving the built environment, and I have always been interested in African American history. I realized I could combine all three elements, and – more importantly – assist in bringing attention to an aspect of American history that is often overlooked by spending a night in slave cabins throughout the state of South Carolina.

To my knowledge, this will be his first stay in Mississippi. Congratulations to Holly Springs for bringing him our way!

Categories: African American History, Antebellum, Holly Springs, Preservation People/Events

2 replies

  1. E.L. Malvaney – Well, maybe “not-so-Holy” Springs. Yes, Preserve Marshall County & Holly Springs, Inc. has received a Mississippi Humanities Council grant to fund a preservation intitiative with the short-term goal of recognizing, documenting and interpeting the oft-passed over but significant role of the slaves’ narrative whose participation, albeit it non-voluntary, largely made possible the constrcution of and living in these big houses possible. We hope that a meaningful dialogue can begin, as regards to this shared legacy. We have partnered with the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum and the Holly Springs Garden Club for a “Behind the Big Houses Tour” in concert with the 74th Annual Spring Pilgrimage of Historic Homes in Holly Springs from 13-15 April 2012. Here is the recent MHC press release:

    A long-term goal is to raise awareness of these rare surviving, often fragile and almost forgotten structures – the slaves’ dwellings and related domestic structures and to promote their preservation and raise funds for that work, as they become an integral part of our town & county’s historic narrative.

    Chelius H. Carter
    Preserve Marshall County & Holly Springs, Inc.



  1. Black History & Museums: Changing Interpretations | Sights & Citations-Official ProQuest History Vault Blog

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