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Inalienable Rights: Free and Enslaved Blacks Crafting a Life in the Shenandoah Valley

Saturday, November 7, 2020, Belle Grove Plantation will welcome back special guests Joseph McGill, Cheyney McKnight, and Dontavius Williams from The Slave Dwelling Project and Ranger Shannon Moeck from Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park for programming on the African American history of the site and of the Shenandoah Valley. Due to COVID-19, this will be a virtual event. The two opening events will Facebook Live events on the Slave Dwelling Project's Facebook page--no registration is needed. The presentations on Saturday, November 7 from 10 a.m. -4 p.m. will be through Zoom, which requires pre-registration by November 6, 2020 at 6 p.m. EST. See more below.


Friday, November 6
4:00 p.m. Join the Slave Dwelling Project for a check in via Facebook Live. Follow their page here.  

Saturday, November 7
9 a.m. Join the Slave Dwelling Project for a check in via Facebook Live. Follow their page here.  

The remaining program will be via Zoom. Please register here. Preregistration required by 6 p.m. EST on November 6, 2020.
Once you have the Zoom log-in instructions you are welcome to join and the leave the Zoom throughout the day. Each presentation will be 30-40 minutes with time for questions and a break before the next presentation.

10 a.m.
Welcome by Kristen Laise, Executive Director, Belle Grove Plantation
Talk by Joe McGill, Founder, The Slave Dwelling Project

11 a.m.
Hearth Cooking Presentation: Cheyney McKnight, Not Your Momma's History and Dontavius Williams, The Chronicles of Adam

12 p.m.
Tour of the Belle Grove Manor House: Kristen Laise, Executive Director, Belle Grove Plantation

1 p.m.
Storytelling Program: The Chronicles of Adam, Dontavius Williams

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

3 p.m.
Wrap up Discussion with Joe McGill, Cheyney McKnight and Dontavius Williams

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. While Belle Grove’s slave quarters have long ago been removed, the Joseph McGill (pictured below), Founder of the Slave Dwelling Project will discuss the lower level of the Manor House, one place where the enslaved worked and may have slept. There will also be an opportunity to learn about the archaeological evidence that has been found where Belle Grove’s slave quarters once stood. 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 and agency, contributions to the success of the plantation, and to remember and honor their legacy.

Pictured below are Joseph McGill, Founder of the Slave Dwelling Project. Cheyney McKnight, Founder of Not Your Momma's History, and Dontavius Williams, Fouunder of The Chronicles of Adam on their previous visits to Belle Grove Plantation. We are honored to have them travel during this challenging time to visit us again for this special program.


Thank you to our sponsors & Partners for this EVENT


Crescent Cities Charities, Inc.



Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park


The Slave Dwelling Project