Slave Dwelling Project

Slave Dwelling Project

Would you sleep in a building that once housed slaves? That was one of the many questions discussed during last Friday's Cliveden Conversations series when Joseph McGill spoke about his overnight stay at Cliveden's servants' quarters. The Cliveden overnight was part of McGill's ongoing Slave Dwelling Project. To date he has slept at over 20 sites in 6 states.



McGill, a program officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, began the project in 2010 because he felt that many historic sites failed to tell the full story of the slavery experience. "For me, the story is behind this house, the slave dwellings that exist behind it."

Row of Slave Cabins on a Southern Plantation, 1800s




Row of Slave Cabins on a Southern Plantation, 1800s


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At Cliveden, he expected a noisy night, but slept easily on the first floor
with a sleeping bag and a pillow. The next day he explored the rest of the house.
He also praised Cliveden for going in the right direction by highlighting the slaves who
helped the Benjamin Chew, who built the home in 1767, and his descendents make their fortune.

Executive Director David Young said that one of Cliveden's goals is to embrace black
history and to challenge people to understand more about themselves and their own country.

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