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Slave Dwelling Project Coming to Downtown Leesburg on Friday, June 2, 2017

Project founder Joseph McGill will be on the Loudoun County Courthouse lawn during Leesburg’s First Friday to talk about slavery and answer questions.

Post Date:05/26/2017 8:30 AM

Joseph McGill, Slave Dwelling Project founderLeesburg, VA (May 25, 2017) – In a joint effort of the Black History Committee of the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library, the Loudoun Freedom Center, Oatlands Historic House and Gardens, the Friends of the Arcola Slave Quarters, and the Loudoun County Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Service, the Slave Dwelling Project will present a three-day program of events to educate the public about slavery and sites of slavery in Loudoun County.

The Slave Dwelling Project ( was founded by Joseph McGill, a Civil War reenactor and descendant of the enslaved. The organization’s mission is to identify and assist property owners, government agencies, and organizations to preserve surviving slave dwellings. To draw attention to the existence of slave dwellings and other buildings that once housed the enslaved, Mr. McGill travels the country and sleeps in the dwellings. To date, he and his followers have slept at sites in 18 states and the District of Columbia.

On Friday, June 2, Joseph McGill will be at the Loudoun County Courthouse to talk about the institution of slavery, beginning at 6:00 p.m. The Black History Committee will have a display of information about the role that the courthouse played in the institution of slavery in Loudoun County. Enslaved people were held at the jail once located on the courthouse grounds and the enslaved were sold in front of the former courthouse that predated the existing building. That night, Mr. McGill and other members of the Slave Dwelling Project will sleep on the courthouse lawn.

From 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, June 2, the Clerk of the Circuit Court will offer an open house in the old courthouse, during which staff will discuss and demonstrate how the court’s historic documents are being preserved in the 21st century.

For more information about the other Slave Dwelling Project events scheduled in Loudoun County from June 2 through June 4, visit  

Media Contact:
Betsy Arnett
Public Information Officer 

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