Inalienable Rights: Living History Through the Eyes of the Enslaved

The Slave Dwelling Project will present four living history days highlighting the lives of enslaved people at four historic locations in South Carolina. The “Inalienable Rights: Living History Through the Eyes of the Enslaved” project will assemble living historians from around the Southeast to present demonstrations at Lexington County Museum on Sunday, May 1, 2016; Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston on Saturday, May 21, 2016; Woodburn Plantation in Pendleton on Saturday, July 16 (10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.), and at Hobcaw Barony in Georgetown County on Friday, July 29 – Saturday, July 30. SC Humanities supported this project with a Major Grant in February 2016.

The “Inalienable Rights” living history days will feature living historians in period clothing conducting demonstrations of outdoor cooking, blacksmithing, brick making, quilting, and other activities that demonstrate the skills that enslaved people had. The demonstrations will be interspersed with storytelling and lectures pertaining to slavery. Each event will take place at a venue where there is an extant slave dwelling, and the living historians will participate in a sleepover at each site in the slave dwelling.

The goals of these programs are to provide African Americans the opportunity to tell their own stories, to provide historical sites the opportunity to strengthen their commitment to incorporating the African American story, to give sites the opportunity to highlight their preservation of slave cabins, and to give the public the opportunity to be exposed to an element of history that is often neglected.

More information is available on the website of The Slave Dwelling Project:

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 22-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.

Image: Joseph McGill presents at the Hugh Craft House; Image courtesy of the Slave Dwelling Project