Confronting Slavery at Long Island’s Oldest Estates

Aug 12, 2015

Joseph McGill first unrolled bedding in a former slave cabin in 1999. He was participating in a documentary about Civil War re-enactors and the controversy over the Confederate battle flag, and the producers asked Mr. McGill — an African-American museum professional from South Carolina who dresses in the Union blue — if he could add some spice to a scene being filmed at a plantation near Charleston.

“The floor was very hard, and the bugs were terrible,” Mr. McGill, 54, recalled recently. “I woke up at about 3 a.m. to the sound of dogs barking in the distance. I’m not sure ‘spooky’ is the word, but the thought did run through my head of all those who had tried to escape.” The experience stuck with him, and in 2010 he formally began the Slave Dwelling Project, with the goal of filling what he calls “a void in preservation” at Southern plantations and beyond.

To read the rest of this article, go to: Confronting Slavery at Long Island’s Oldest Estates, by Jennifer Schuessler, for the New York Times.

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