LFCC students will have opportunity to participate in overnight Slave Dwelling Project

For Immediate Release:
October 5, 2018

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134

LFCC students are being offered the opportunity to participate in a unique experience – sleeping on the lower-level floor of Belle Grove Plantation in Middletown as part of the Slave Dwelling Project on Nov. 10.

Founded by Joe McGill, the Slave Dwelling Project’s mission is to identify dwellings once slept in by slaves and to help the buildings’ owners, government agencies or organizations preserve them. The descendant of slaves, McGill has visited 90 sites in 18 states, sleeping at them and sharing his experiences and those of the enslaved.

McGill brought the experience to Belle Grove once before, in October 2016.

The manor’s original owners, the Hite family, owned more than 275 slaves over the years. Some of the enslaved individuals certainly were forced to work in the lower level of the manor, and possibly slept there. Being there, and sleeping on the floor, are ways to connect with and honor the lives of the plantation’s slaves.

In addition to the overnight experience for students from LFCC and Shenandoah University, there will be a variety of African-American living history activities from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Nov. 10. These include a talk by McGill, hearth cooking and blacksmithing demonstrations; presentations by a Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park ranger on the lives of Judah, an enslaved cook at the manor, and Emannual Jackson Jr., whose freedom was bought; and information on exploring family history with the Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Project.

As a member of LFCC’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, Kristin Iden, who works in the college’s Office of Human Resource Management, has been instrumental in bringing this opportunity to students.

“We thought it would be an opportunity for our students to gain better insight into the history of slavery in our own region, and the legacy it created,” she says.

National Park Service Funding has made the cost of the overnight just $25, and LFCC students’ spots will be covered by a grant. Any leftover spaces will be made available to LFCC faculty and staff.

LFCC is also offering a couple more related events.

In the Corron Community Development Center on the Middletown Campus, historical archeologist Matthew Greer will be presenting “Slavery and Ceramics at Belle Grove Plantation,” his archeological research on the enslaved at the manor, at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8. His presentation is sponsored by LFCC’s Human Services Student Organization and the Diversity and Inclusion Council.

Additionally, representatives from the council and Belle Grove will discuss the upcoming Belle Grove visit prior to the Oct. 10 screening of “Skin Deep.” The film, sponsored by the LFCC Library Film Series, will be shown at 12:15 p.m. in Fairfax Hall Room 300.

Those interested in participating in the Slave Dwelling Project, or finding out more, can visit https://goo.gl/forms/QpNauvyP0Qk31Tvg2, or contact Kristin Iden at [email protected]


Founded in 1970, Lord Fairfax Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. LFCC offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. LFCC also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. LFCC serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Lord Fairfax Community College. Lord Fairfax Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. LFCC also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.