Columbia, SC (April 3, 2012) – Joseph McGill is a Field Officer with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a Civil War 54th Regiment re-enactor. He’s been all around the country sleeping in slave cabins and dwellings as a part of his Slave Dwelling Project. In an effort to heighten awareness in and support of preserving sites associated with slavery, McGill has thus spent the night in more than 31 documented slave quarters. McGill established the Slave Dwelling Project and made it a personal mission to preserve humble shelters that serve as a reminder of what life was like for the enslaved persons who worked plantations, more modest farms and businesses in both the North and South.
Historic Columbia Foundation is pleased to announce an unprecedented program coming up this Thursday, April 5. The evening of April 5, Joseph McGill will be spending the night in the circa-1830 kitchen dependency at the Seibels House. The Seibels House is believed to be Columbia’s oldest remaining home. McGill will be leading an hour-long free presentation the evening of his stay (April 5) beginning at 7 pm. Reservations are encouraged but not required and can be made at email@example.com or 803.252.1770 ext. 24. Attendees are encouraged to arrive to the Seibels House (1601 Richland Street) a few minutes early. McGill’s presentation is hosted by Historic Columbia Foundation and made possible by Mel Hart of the South Carolina Black News and the Lexington County Museum. The following day, McGill will be spending time (and staying the night) at the Lexington County Museum.
About South Carolina’s historic sites associated with slavery, Historic Columbia Foundation’s John Sherrer, Director of Cultural Resources, says, “Historic preservation is the mechanism by which we prevent cultural amnesia and avoid losing aspects of our past that inform not only us today but generations of future citizens.” He goes on to say, “McGill’s pending visit serves as a springboard into perhaps a broader appreciation for historically important sites whose full background specifically that involving the work of enslaved persons, often has gone un- or under appreciated.”
Sherrer recently published a blog post on South Carolina’s historic sites associated with the legacy of slavery, with historic and contemporary images (read it here: http://historiccolumbia.org/blog/preservation-matters-columbia-south-carolina-historic-sites-associated-with-the-legacy-of-slavery/).
In May of 2010, McGill kicked off the Slave Dwelling Project at Magnolia Plantation. Since that time, he’s traveled all over the United States spending the night in slave cabins and quarters. Sites on his 2012 agenda include Virginia, Mississippi, Georgia and Connecticut McGill talks about the Project in videos posted on Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4g16Zv3phQ and here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7-TgIiIgGk.
About the Slave Dwelling Project, McGill says, “A lot of times we take in the marvel of the big house and the mansion and grounds, but very seldom do we take in places like the slave dwellings, which are in my option, very important.” He goes on to say, “I want to help save those places out there that need attention. Some cabins are on the verge of collapse.”
McGill will be available for media interviews the evening of April 5 and morning of April 6. High resolution photos of McGill are posted on the Foundation’s Flickr account at http://www.flickr.com/photos/historiccolumbiafoundation/sets/72157629325320052/. To download photos, expand the thumbnail image by clicking on it, right-click and select “original” size, then “download original size of photo”.
About Historic Columbia Foundation:
In November 1961, a small group of individuals intent on saving the Ainsley Hall House from demolition, officially incorporated as the Historic Columbia Foundation. Over the next five decades the organization, which was founded on the premise of preservation and education, would take on the stewardship of seven historic properties in Richland County. Today, the organization serves as a model for local preservation efforts and interpretation of local history. The 50th Anniversary year of Historic Columbia Foundation (which officially began on November 13, 2011) will include a variety of community celebratory events. Visit http://historiccolumbia.org for details.
About Lexington County Museum:
The Lexington County Museum, founded in 1970, offers visitors the chance to see and touch a way of life gone forever. Structures and furnishings focus on the early history of Lexington County and interpret the everyday lives of its residents from ca. 1770 until the Civil War. The Museum complex, located in the heart of Lexington, encompasses seven acres and features 36 historic structures. Exhibits focus on locally made artifacts including furniture and quilts. More information is available at http://www.lex-co.com/museum.html.