Over the past three years, Joe McGill has slept in almost 40 former slave dwellings in a dozen states, hoping to draw attention to the need to preserve the structures and tell their stories.
Now he’s expanding the effort and working to make the Slave Dwelling Project a nonprofit organization, with plans for a national conference next year. He says paperwork will be filed within the next two weeks to make it official.
There is no good estimate on how many U.S. slave quarters still stand, and identifying them is one of the project’s objectives.
McGill says preserving slave dwellings is important to telling the story of all Americans. By establishing a nonprofit, he hopes to create financial resources for property owners who have such dwellings.
Keeping slave quarters erect would certainly help African-American children understand their past and how fortunate they are to have the freedoms that their ancestors never enjoyed, as well as broaden the mindsets of Americans as a whole on our history and culture.