Roanoke College was the scene of a unique history experience this past weekend.
Since 2010, Joe McGill, founder of the Slave Dwelling Project, has traveled to 19 different states and Washington D.C. in order to spend the night in the same spots where enslaved people used to live.
He says the project’s goal is to highlight every part of history:
“We have a tendency to stay in that comfort zone, in that place that tells the stories of those folks who resided in the walls of the nice, big, architecturally significant houses. But, usually associated with those nice, big, architecturally significant houses, those buildings that are antebellum buildings, those buildings built prior to the Civil War – there is slavery involved in all that.”
McGill’s latest stop is Roanoke College, where a former slave house built in 1853 still sits on the school’s grounds.
“So, the Monterey complex really is made up of three pieces; the big house and the slave quarter structure, and there is also another dependency down the hill.”
Mark Miller is a history professor at the school.
“So the college has been busy renovating all of those properties in the last 15 years or so that we have come to acquire them.”
Renovations include removing modern amenities like indoor plumbing and electrical outlets. Students in a capstone class are working with a professional team of preservation specialists to return the site to its original state.