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The Slave Dwelling Project's Programs at Belle Grove

Belle Grove Plantation and Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park have been fortunate to partner with The Slave Dwelling Project since 2016. See below for more information and photographs from past events.

Dontavius Williams, Joseph McGill & Cheyney McKnight in the Belle Grove kitchen

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we moved the 2020 event online. Many thanks to Joseph McGill, Founder of The Slave Dwelling Project. Cheyney McKnight, Founder of Not Your Momma's History, and Dontavius Williams, Founder of The Chronicles of Adam for traveling during this challenging time for this special program.

Recordings of the presentations are in the links below.

Friday, November 6
Slave Dwelling Project broadcast via Facebook Live (48 minutes)

Saturday, November 7
Slave Dwelling Project broadcast via Facebook Live (11 minutes)

Presentation by Joe McGill, Founder, The Slave Dwelling Project (52 minutes) (brief audio interruptions at the start)

Hearth Cooking Presentation: Cheyney McKnight, Not Your Momma's History and Dontavius Williams, The Chronicles of Adam (60 minutes)
Chicken Pie from The American Frugal Housewife by Lydia Maria Child and Butternut Squash and Collard Greens (Cheyney talks about the recipe starting in minute 5 of the Wrap-up Discussion and the link is below)

Presentations by Kristen Laise, Executive Director, Belle Grove Plantation (57 minutes)
* Review of Archaeology of Enslaved Quarter Site
* Tour of Manor House and the Enslaved Burial Ground, plus questions and more information on Belle Grove's research on the enslaved

Storytelling Program: The Chronicles of Adam, Dontavius Williams and Discussion about the Presentation (58 minutes)

Free at Last: The Complicated Road to Freedom for Emmanuel Jackson, Shannon Moeck, Ranger, Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park (58 minutes)
Read more about the Jackson family here.

Wrap up Discussion with Joe McGill, Cheyney McKnight and Dontavius Williams (45 minutes) (we join the conversation with the presenters speaking about their family history)

The Slave Dwelling Project’s mission is to identify and assist property owners with documenting and preserving extant slave dwellings and they bring people together to talk about these important spaces of American history.

The Hite family at Belle Grove owned and enslaved 276 men, women, and children from 1783 to 1851 and we are committed to learning more about their lives, agency, and contributions to the success of the plantation, and to remember and honor their legacy. While Belle Grove’s enslaved quarters have long ago been removed, Joseph McGill, Founder of the Slave Dwelling Project has stayed and hosted groups on the lower level of Belle Grove's Manor House, which is one place where the enslaved worked and may have, on occasion, slept if the demands of the household required it. During the Slave Dwelling Project programs, we also present the archaeological evidence that is being found where Belle Grove’s slave quarters once stood.

With the 2018-2020 programs, we titled the event "Inalienable Rights: Free and Enslaved Blacks Crafting a Life in the Shenandoah Valley." Presentations highlighted both stories of enslaved individuals and freed Blacks and the significant role of both in our region.

Past Programs:
2016 Program with Bloomsburg University  ~ Watch a video  ~ Read a book it inspired!
2018 Program with Lord Fairfax Community College and Shenandoah University
2019 Program with Lord Fairfax Community College and Shenandoah University

Thank you to our sponsors for these events: Crescent Cities Charities, Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, and The Slave Dwelling Project

Photos from The Slave Dwelling Project's visits to Belle Grove

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