On Thursday, March 25th, 2021, the RC hosted Joseph McGill, founder and director of the Slave Dwelling Project, for a virtual talk and tour of the slave cabins and burial ground at Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina, as well as a Q&A.  


Back in 2010, Joe McGill was working at Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, South Carolina, as a history consultant, when he got to wondering what it would be like to spend a night in one of the slave cabins on the property. He mentioned it to the director of the site, who said “Go ahead.” That was the start of the Slave Dwelling Project. Eleven years later, Joe has slept in more than 200 slave dwellings in 25 states across the country. Joe talked to the audience about the importance of preserving these historic structures so that we may have full and honest conversations about the impacts of slavery on our country’s history. His discussion started with the history of the plantation, dating back to slavery in the 1670s, and he also provided an inside look at former slave cabins and living conditions. Joe also addressed present day questions on reparations and the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement on national conversations around slavery.


Over 50 people were in attendance, including students, staff, and faculty from various departments on campus. The full recording of the tour and Q&A can be found below. For those interested, the Call for Proposals for the 2021 Slave Dwelling Project Conference is currently open, and they welcome proposals from U-M faculty and students. The deadline is April 12, 2021, and more information can be found here.

This event was presented by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of the Residential College, and was supported by the LSA Departments of Afroamerican and African Studies and Anthropology.