Slave houses opening for tours
Historian Joseph McGill is sleeping in slave cabins throughout the East Coast, and he’s coming to Historic Stagville for his Slave Dwelling Project.
McGill, a descendant of slaves, is traveling across the country to emphasize the importance of preserving these historic structures. For just one day (Oct. 12), all the original buildings in Stagville’s Horton Grove will be open for guided tours.
Historic Stagville interprets the plantation of the Bennehan-Cameron family, whose combined holdings totaled approximately 900 enslaved people and almost 30,000 acres by 1860. Stagville is located at 5828 Old Oxford Highway in Durham, and is within the Division of State Historic Sites in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.
Horton Grove is the site of four original slave quarters built in 1851 and a 1770s farm house that was repurposed as an overseer’s dwelling. McGill will spend one night in the quarters.
McGill is a field officer with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and has stayed in almost 40 slave dwellings in a dozen states. He will give the Earlie E. Thorpe Memorial Lecture at Historic Stagville Oct. 13 at 2 p.m., and will discuss the Slave Dwelling Project. The annual speech at Stagville honors Dr. Thorpe, an important scholar on African-American history and a professor at N.C. Central University from 1962-1969.
The Saturday tours will include original slave quarters, and the 1770s era Horton house, the farm house converted to an overseer’s dwelling, and Hart House, a slave quarter that was modernized as a sharecropper’s house in the early 20th century. Guided tours will last approximately one hour and will be given at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. The Saturday tours and Sunday lecture are free.
For more information, call 919-620-0120.