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Speaker Series: Sleeping with the Ancestors

June 13, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Joseph M. McGill, Jr., started his Slave Dwelling Project in 2010 to draw attention to the oft-obscured and distorted experiences of formerly enslaved people. Since then, he has hosted overnight stays in what were once slave quarters on properties throughout the South, North, and West.

During this upcoming discussion, Mr. McGill will discuss his recent book on the subject, Sleeping with the Ancestors, along with his co-author, the journalist Herb Frazier.

Join us on June 13, at 6:00PM Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for guests.

To RSVP, click here or call 843-579-9922, to secure your seat.

About the Book:

In this enlightening personal account, one man tells the story of his groundbreaking project to sleep overnight in former slave dwellings that still stand across the country—revealing the fascinating history behind these sites and shedding light on larger issues of race in America.

Joseph McGill Jr., a historic preservationist and Civil War reenactor, founded the Slave Dwelling Project in 2010 based on an idea that was sparked and first developed in 1999. Since founding the project, McGill has been touring the country, spending the night in former slave dwellings—throughout the South, but also the North and the West, where people are often surprised to learn that such structures exist. Events and gatherings are arranged around these overnight stays, and it provides a unique way to understand the often otherwise obscured and distorted history of slavery. The project has inspired difficult conversations about race in communities from South Carolina to Alabama to Texas to Minnesota to New York, and all over the United States.

Sleeping with the Ancestors focuses on all of the key sites McGill has visited in his ongoing project and digs deeper into the actual history of each location, using McGill’s own experience and conversations with the community to enhance those original stories. Altogether, McGill and coauthor Herb Frazier give readers an important unexpected emersion into the history of slavery, and especially the obscured and ignored aspects of that history.


Charleston Library Society
164 King Street
Charleston, SC 29401 United States
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