Slave Dwelling Project Returns to Louisville: Shifting the Narrative

Slave Dwelling Project Returns to Louisville: Shifting the Narrative image
  • October 22, 2021
  • October 23, 2021

“It’s a pleasure that through this pandemic, historic sites are still building relationships with descendants of enslaved people.” –  Joe McGill, Executive Director, The Slave Dwelling Project

The Louisville Coalition on the History of the Enslaved, which includes Farmington Historic Plantation, Historic Locust Grove, Oxmoor Farm and Riverside: The Farnsley-Moremen Landing, welcomes Joe McGill of the Slave Dwelling Project. McGill is an educator, Civil War re-enactor, and descendant of enslaved people. The Slave Dwelling Project began in 2010 at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, South Carolina and has since spread to 25 states and the District of Columbia on 150 historic sites. McGill’s work has focused on changing the narrative, one slave dwelling at a time, as he attempts to spend the night in every former slave dwelling still standing in the United States. McGill will be joined by living historians Jerome Bias and Rodney Prioleau for a weekend of programming October 22-23. Programming will be offered at all four historic sites.

Programs begin Friday morning with participants taking a newly offered tour at Locust Grove titled “Unfolding the Story.” Experience the other side of Locust Grove as you accompany the Croghan family’s enslaved laundress, Louisa, and enslaved distillery assistant, Alfred, throughout the house and outbuildings as they go about their daily routines. This 90-minute tour will immerse you in the year 1816 as you witness the sights, smells, and sounds of a 19th-century farm, all while learning about the lives and stories of the enslaved individuals at Locust Grove. The tour cost is $10 per person and limited to 24. Tour times are 10:00am and 11:30am. Locust Grove is located at 561 Blankenbaker Lane, Louisville, KY 40207.

Friday evening, participants can attend a campfire discussion at Oxmoor Farm around Oxmoor’s remaining slave dwellings. The evening programming will begin with a brief tour of the Oxmoor house and grounds at 6:00pm followed by a campfire discussion led by Joe McGill, founder of the Slave Dwelling Project. Mr. McGill has traveled to over 25 states and slept in former slave dwellings to bring recognition to the history of the enslaved. Should participants choose to join Mr. McGill and stay overnight on the grounds they must provide their own camping equipment. The campfire discussion ticket is $25 and participants can add-on the overnight stay for an additional $10. The campfire discussion and overnight stay is limited to 35 participants. Those staying overnight must sign a waiver. A light breakfast will be provided. Oxmoor Farm is located at 720 Oxmoor Ave. Louisville, KY 40222

Saturday’s programming kicks off with a panel discussion and tour at Farmington Historic Plantation. Join us at 10:00am as well-known experts and historians discuss the changes that historic sites are making to shift the narrative during tours about the enslaved people who lived at each site. This discussion will be held under the outdoor pavilion at Farmington and moderated by local NPR contributor, Dan Gediman. Gediman’s recent podcast The Reckoning delved into Kentucky’s slavery history. Joe McGill will be on the panel and share his knowledge as a visitor to over 90 historic sites. In addition to the discussion, house tours will be available. A food truck will be onsite for lunch. Cost of the panel discussion is $10 per person. Farmington Historic Plantation is located at 3033 Bardstown Rd. Louisville, KY 40205.

The weekend concludes on Saturday afternoon at Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing with the Slave Dwelling Project living history presentations. Starting at 1:30pm. Jerome Bias will lead a cooking demonstration in the detached kitchen with food tasting opportunities. Rodney Prioleau will demonstrate the craft of brickmaking, a skill many enslaved people practiced. Ticket holders can also tour the Farnsley-Moremen House and interact with archaeologists from the Kentucky Archaeology Survey who have been investigating the lives of the people enslaved at Riverside for almost two decades. Cost of this demonstration and food sampling is $20 and limited to 50 participants. (Morning tours of the Farnsley-Moremen House are available through Riverside’s website: Riverside is located at 7410 Moorman Rd. Louisville, KY 40272.

A full weekend pass is $60, a savings of $15. Only 10 weekend passes are available. A single day ticket for Saturday’s programs at Farmington and Riverside is $25. Only 15 are available. Click on the button below to purchase tickets.

Please note – most of the programs will take place outdoors to better adhere to COVID safety guidelines. Masks are recommended for any portion of the programs that take place indoors. We will be in touch with ticket buyers if any programming has to be altered due to the weather.

We would like to thank the following sponsors for their support!