The Slave Dwelling Project
June 2-4 at various locations in Loudoun County
Oatlands Historic House and Gardens, The Friends of the Arcola Slave Quarters (https://www.loudoun.gov/index.aspx?NID=1491), the Black History Committee of the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library (http://balchfriends.org/black-history-committee/), the Loudoun Freedom Center (http://www.loudounfreedomfoundation.com/) and the Loudoun County Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services are partnering to bring the Slave Dwelling Project to Loudoun County. The weekend-long program at various locations in the county will educate the public about slavery and sites of slavery in Loudoun County.
Friday, June 2 – Leesburg First Friday – 6:00-8:00 PM
Mr. McGill will be on the courthouse lawn to talk about slavery and answer questions. Information about the role the county courthouse played in the institution of slavery will be compiled and on display by the Black History Committee. Inside the old courthouse, there will be a presentation on “Preserving Loudoun’s Historic Court Papers.” This program is sponsored by Gary M. Clemens, Clerk of the Circuit Court. Friday night, Mr. McGill and others will sleep on the courthouse lawn. The courthouse is a meaningful and important location because enslaved people were held at the jail once located on the grounds, and the enslaved were sold in front of the former courthouse that predated the current building.
Saturday, June 3
10:00-11:30 – The public will have a rare opportunity to tour the Settle-Dean Cabin. It is one of the few remaining structures from the predominantly African American village of Conklin, now the community of South Riding. Charles Dean had been enslaved by Thomas Settle and after Emancipation, the two families lived in log cabins joined together on the exterior by board siding. The property was willed to the Dean family by Settle after his death. Now owned by Loudoun County and administered through the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services. The Settle-Dean Cabin will be open from 10:00-11:30. Parking is at J. Michael Lunsford Middle School, 26020 Ticonderoga Rd, Chantilly (South Riding), VA 20152. Shuttle buses will be provided or visitors may walk the short distance from the school to the Cabin.
8:00-9:00 PM – The Slave Dwelling Project will be at Oatlands on Saturday evening, starting at 8:00 PM with a lantern light walking tour about the enslaved community that was once there. By 1860, on the eve of the Civil War, 133 men, women and children were enslaved at Oatlands and the Carter’s smaller plantation, Bellefield, near Upperville. This program is free and open to the public. Descendants of the enslaved community at Oatlands will join Mr. McGill that night to sleep in the 1804 mansion, 1810 greenhouse, and elsewhere on the property.
Sunday, June 4
Pastor Michelle Thomas, founder of the Loudoun Freedom Center, will lead an outdoor worship service at Oatlands. The service will start at 9 AM. The program is free, open to the public, and open to people of all faiths.
To learn more about the Slave Dwelling Project, go to http://slavedwellingproject.org/. Locations and start times may be subject to change. Please check back for updates before making plans. Questions can be directed to Lori Kimball at LKimball@oatlands.org (preferred) or 777-3174 option 3.