African American living history interpreters.
Leni Sorensen, teaches history at Virginia Tech and is on this list.
She interprets (3rd person) African American foodways. (I don't
think she'll mind me saying this.)
There are several African American interpreters at Historic
Brattonsville, just south of Charlotte NC in York County, SC.
Contact Pat Veasey. The general phone number for Brattonsville
(they also have some orig. & reconstructed brick slave houses).
I also know that Monticello does African American plantation
interpretive work in the summer. Contact Dianne Swann-Wright,
of African American and Special Programs, International Ctr. for
Jefferson Studies, Telephone: (434) 984-9864.
My web search incl. from list-serv leads turned up seven sites that
appear to host a viable ensemble of standing 19th c. slave quarters
structures (most appear at glance to be mostly orig., though with
reconstr. work as well).
Evergreen Plantation, LA:
From the website: "Over the decades, the most serious change
Evergreen as a plantation complex has been the extensive fabric
replacement evident in the slave quarters. Some noteworthy original
features, such as chimneys, shutters, and doors remain, but nearly
150 years of patching, repairs, and reconstruction have caused
alterations. It is surprising that these quarters, retaining their
original appearance and double row configuration, have survived at
all. There is very little documentation on these buildings, although
it is clear that they are indeed antebellum. The 1860 census lists
Lezin Becnel and his brother, the then owners of the plantation, as
having 103 slaves in 48 dwellings. The only known historic map of the
plantation is the Mississippi River Commission map of 1876, which
shows 22 cabins in the same configuration and location.
Evergreen Plantation, a National Historic Landmark, is located on
State Hwy. 18, in Wallace. The house is open to the public, but only
by arranging a tour with either the New Orleans Tours company
(504-592-0560) or Airboat Adventures (504-382-8767)."
Frogmore Plantation, LA.
"An 1800-acre working cotton plantation, Frogmore has eighteen
restored buildings that date from the early 1800's. . . .
Authentically furnished slave row cabins dating to 1810."
Magnolia Plantation near Natchez LA, part of Cane River Creole
National Historic Park. "Park Service tours of the slave quarters
are free. The eight mud-brick slave cabins, originally duplexes and
later single-family dwellings, eventually will be restored. Two are
open to the public. Cane River Creole National Historical Park,
La. 494, Natchez, La. For tour appointments or information, call
318-352-0383, or the heritage area office, 318-356-5555. (Also check
the park's Web site, www.nps.gov/cari/) For Magnolia slave quarters,
call the park and arrange to meet a park ranger at the Magnolia
Plantation Store. Take I-49 to Exit 120 (Derry/Gorum Exit), go east
on La. 119 about two miles until you come to the Magnolia Plantation
"The eight intact brick cabins at Magnolia are a rare surviving
example of a masonry slave village. Built in the 1840s to house
families each, and originally numbering twenty-eight, these
saddlebag-style quarters had wooden floors and cypress-shingled
roofs. Other cabins were built of wood construction. There were a
total of 70 cabins on the plantation."
Boone Hall Plantation, near Charleston, SC, has what are called the
only surviving "slave street" in the Southeastern US.
Contact them only via the website.
Historic Stagville, near Durham, NC, is a state historic site, has
the only original field slave houses open to the public, but, as you
know, they are somewhat atypical in quality: four two-story
four-room timber-frame houses, elevated off ground, with brick
nogging for insulation (constructed 1850s). They were atypical
for this plantation (though this reconstruction project appears to
have been the start of a longer-term plan); in 1860 there were 55
slave houses, only 7 known like this, and 1 other 1-story but similar
P.O. Box 71217
Durham, NC 27722-1217
Somerset Place, near Creswell, NC, another state historic site, has
mixture of reconstructed & some orig. slave houses & work buildings
forming the big-house compound; they are reconstructing houses along
the slave row as well.
2572 Lake Shore Road
Creswell, NC 27928
Phone: (252) 797-4560
Fax: (252) 797-4171
LSU's Rural Life Museum at Baton Rouge. "The Working Plantation
consists of a complex of buildings - commissary, overseer's house,
kitchen, slave cabins, sick house, schoolhouse, blacksmith's shop,
sugar house, and grist mill - authentically furnished to replicate
all the major activities of life on a typical 19th century working
plantation." (unclear whether these are moved from elsewhere or orig.
or reconstr., or just what, but they appear to be older buildings,
not new constructions) http://rurallife.lsu.edu/html/plant.html
For more information call (225)765-2437 or e-mail email@example.com.
main page http://rurallife.lsu.edu/ but the links don't work.
Colonial Williamsburg's Carter's Grove is a totally reconctructed
slave quarter site representing the 18th c.,
"Note: Carter's Grove will be closed for a two-year assessment of the
property, grounds, and programs beginning January 2, 2003.
Interpretation of rural slave family life will relocate to Palace
Farms in the Historic Area."
Below are excerpts from other responses from the list-serv and other
examples I turned up on the web that may be of interest:
Not all slave quarters were as attractive as the typical sites you
mentioned Williamsburg, etc.) If the Canadian film company
some interesting and authentic slave cabins, they might want to
contact J.O.K. (called jock) Walsh at the Caroline County Historical
society in Denton, Maryland. The society has restored a known
cabin, and have recently purchased another for restoration. They
as authentic as they come for slave era, Upper South, construction.
Harriet Tubman's parents lived in Caroline County when she ran away,
and it assumed that they lived in a cabin similar to the ones the
county is now restoring. Just thought I would pass the info along
especially if the film company intends to deal with Tubman and her
efforts to bring away her family and friends from the Eastern Shore
of Maryland to Canada.
The ones in Caroline County were constructed by the slaves
themselves, of rough hewn logs and plastered with a mortar made of
oyster shells. And they are small, too, not substantial two story
dwellings. I know the preservation/historical society people
Caroline County have identified several more slave dwellings, but
have been unsuccessful so far in purchasing them from current
Caroline County Historical Society
P.O. Box 514
Denton, Maryland 21629
Museum of Rural Life
16 North Second Street
Denton, Maryland 21629
Hours: Limited - Call first
J.O.K. Walsh - 410-479-0274
12 North Second Street
Denton, Maryland 21629
Bellamy Mansion, NC:
"Behind the Bellamy mansion stands one of the best preserved
examples of an urban slave quarters in the United States." Located
at the corner of
5th Avenue & Market Street
Kingsley Plantation includes "the plantation house, a kitchen
a barn, and the ruins of 25 of the original slave cabins."
A list-serv contributor writes "There are tabby-shell slave quarters
at Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island, FL that are part of the
state park system and there has been archaeology done at them. They
are right on a water inlet and would make ideal filming since the
terrain looks much like it did in the 18th c
when Africans were unloaded there."
Waveland State Historic Site, Lexington KY
There are a number of standing slave buildings and rooms within buildings
that are interpreted to varying degrees of success.
1. The Hermitage, Nashville, Tn, Andrew Jackson's first log house was
converted to slave housing after the mansion was built in 1821. These
buildings are currently undergoing restoration, but if they contact
2. Carnton Plantation, Franklin, Tn, a two story brick building with
rooms interpreted as slave housing.
3. The Carter House, Franklin, Tn, Log building somewhat interpreted
slave cabin, moved to the site from another plantation in the 70s.
4. Rippavilla Plantation, Columbia, Tn, frame slave house on the back
interpreted plantation museum. Great little building in serious need
5. Both Monticello and Poplar Forest have slave rooms in the dependency
wings that Jefferson like to add to his houses. The wing at Poplar
currently under reconstruction, and the cook's room at Monticello is
interpreted that way, though typically there is no on-going first person
interpretation at either site.
A few cabins are still standing at Laura Plantation, Vacherie,
Mount Vernon (Alexandria, Virginia) (Geo. Washington's home);
slave quarters and living history.
Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest, www.poplarforest.org, is rebuilding
the service wing, which is similar to that at Monticello,
www.monticello.org; both utterly atypical. Monticello also has
or two buildings once slave quarters or work areas, on Mulberry Row,
& is considering rebuilding others, pending a research recommendation.
James Monroe's Highlands / Ash Lawn, near Monticello.
has one surviving slave quarters building.
Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan has two relocated slave
houses from the Hermitage in GA:
Hampton Plantation, which is part of the Ridgley Estate in
Baltimore County, Maryland. It is a part of the National Park
system of parks. (Has substantial slave quarters buildings of
& one highly modified (large glass windows) log cabin).
The Sam Davis Home in Smyrna TN has several buildings that were moved
another plantation back in the 60s. They know there were something
slave houses on the plantation in the 1850 census, and took 3 log cabins
the other site and use them in children's programs on slavery. On a
basis most of the sites across the volunteer state do not have any
interpretation. There are small signs on rooms or in front of houses
general public to read. I found in my wanderings across the state that
interpretation programs are usually for kids.
Contact for info: Bethany Hawkins
Phone: 615. 459. 2341
Fax: 615. 459. 2341
Mallory-Neely house in Memphis. They can't
take the tours to the slave rooms because they are in the basement,
talk about slaves being the moving force for the running of the house
reason the owners were wealthy. They have very few documents related
slaves, but use them in a slavery program for children.
Belmont Mansion in Nashville TN: The slave rooms in the basement
are not accessible.
Belle Meade Plantation in Belle Meade, TN (outside Nashville) recently
reconstructed a slave cabin from another site. I believe they were
doing some interpretation there, but had not heard before I left the
They are on the web, as are all these sites if you want to contact
The Isaac Royall House in Medford, Massachusetts, includes quarters
enslaved servants and has hosted living history programs on their lives.
This building is said to be one of the very few surviving buildings
for slaves in the Northeast U.S. It of course predates the Underground
Railroad, and for that matter railroads.
Historic Hudson Valley's Philipsburg Manor reconstruction in Sleepy
North Tarrytown) has developed interpretive programs concerning "aspects
the history of colonial New York and the system of racially-based slavery
which helped keep the estate running in the 18th century." See the
http://www.hudsonvalley.org/web/phil-main.html which has side-links
establishing slavery in colonial NY
http://www.hudsonvalley.org/pinkster/index.html, and Cuffee and the
conspiracy trial http://www.hudsonvalley.org/web/cuffee.html (the last
undated but appears to be a theatrical retelling from 2001)
An article about B&Bs using slave quarters, with links:
Photos from Historic American Building Survey (click on "Slave quarters"):
John Michael Vlach's online exhibit "Back of the Big House" (and of
course his book by the same name):
And, interestingly, in South Africa:
In South Africa, the oldest and only extant slave quarters are known
SLAVE LODGE, presently housing the South African Cultural History Museum,
which displays the oldest cultural history collection of artifacts
country, at 49 Adderley Street, near the entrance of the public
Gardens, Cape Town.
The SLAVE LODGE is :
+ the only surviving Dutch East India VOC slave quarters of its kind
world; during the first 170 + years of its existence from 1679
it housed about 500 VOC company owned slaves and up to 1000 VOC
owned slaves at its peak;
+ was the largest 'plantation-type' slave quarters in South Africa when
Cape of Good Hope colony was a slave holding society from the 1650's
+ only VOC institutional enterprise which had its own ships dedicated
importation of African slaves along the East Coast of Africa e.g. Mocambique
+ slaves were imported from West Coast of Africa initially, thereafter
India and Batavia, and later from Madagascar, and Mocambique, etc.;
+ it has been recommended as the focal point of the local UNESCO
'Trans-Indian Ocean slave trade route' for the South African chapter;
+ probably incorporating the comprehensive register of company slaves
VOC bandieten [sentenced convicts] i.e. the slave residents of the
LODGE which has been compiled by a UCT researcher, Linda Duvenage
collaboration with the Iziko Museums of Cape Town, especially by the
of the SLAVE LODGE;
Enquiries : Dr Helene VOLLGRAAF
Tel No : 2721-464-1268
Fax No : 2721-460-8202
Website : http://www.museums.org.za/sachm/
Resident SLAVE LODGE professional archeaologist : Dr G Abrahams-Willis
Related SACHM publication :
VOLLGRAAFF, Helene  : "The Dutch East India Company's Slave Lodge
the Cape", South African Cultural History Museum [SACHM] publication,
1-875045-26-0, Cape Town, RSA
Other SLAVE LODGE related articles :
i] SHELL, Robert C-H  : " From diaspora to diorama : the UNESCO
feasibility study for the cultural amplication of the memory of slavery
the slave trade in Southern Africa, part one : THE LODGE", in the Quarterly
Bulletin of the National Library of South Africa , Vol 54, No. 2, December
1999, ppn 44-56;
ii]ABRAHAMS-WILLIS, Gabeba  : "Slave Lodge to become a major tourism
magnet - preliminary report on year 2000 excavations",
in the Quarterly
Bulletin of the National Library of South Africa , Vol 54, No. 4, June
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Phillip Troutman, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, firstname.lastname@example.org
Duke University Writing Program, Box 90025, Durham NC 27708
ph.919.493.6396, fx.919.660.4372, http://www.duke.edu/~trout
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
End of SLAVERY Digest - 1 Apr 2003 to 4 Apr 2003 (#2003-44)