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An account of one man's years sleeping overnight in the oft-overlooked slave dwellings across the United States and how he has used the experiences to shed light on larger issues of race and history in America.
Joseph McGill, a historic preservationist and Civil War reenactor, founded the Slave Dwelling Project in 2010 based on an idea that was sparked and developed from 1999. Ever since, he’s been touring the country, spending the night in former slave dwellings – throughout the South, but also the North and the West, where former slave dwellings also exist. Events and gatherings are arranged around these overnight stays, and it provides a unique way to understand the often otherwise obscured and distorted history of slavery. It has inspired difficult conversations about race in communities from South Carolina to Alabama to Texas to Minnesota to Oregon, and all over the US map.
Sleeping with the Ancestors focuses on all of the key sites McGill has visited over the past two decades and digs deeper into the actual history of each, using McGill’s own experience to enhance those original stories. Altogether, it gives a broader look at the history of slavery, and especially the unexpected, obscured, and ignored aspects of that history.
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