Shenandoah Valley Enslavement Programs

African American History Programs

 
Joseph McGill presenting about the Slave Dwelling Project
Joseph McGill presenting about the Slave Dwelling Project.

Belle Grove Plantation

Inalienable Rights: Free and Enslaved Blacks
Crafting a Life in the Shenandoah Valley
Thursday, November 10 - Saturday, November 12, 2022


Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, Belle Grove Plantation, Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Clarke County Historical Association, and Blandy Experimental Farm team up to welcome The Slave Dwelling Project for four events over three days that use storytelling and living history to help visitors learn about the daily lives of the enslaved people.

Thursday, November 10, 7 p.m.

St. Thomas Chapel, 7854 Church Street, Middletown, VA 22645
Learn about the Battle of Cedar Creek. Kenyette Spencer Mills, descendent of free Black potter Abraham Spencer, will read from the 1915 book Battleground Adventures in which her ancestor, Serena Spencer, recorded her remembrances of the battle. Shannon Moeck, Park Ranger of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, will discuss the Battle of Cedar Creek’s larger impact on the civilian community. Register through the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. This event is pay what you can.

Friday, November 11, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Burwell Morgan Mill, 15 Tannery Lane, Millwood, VA 22646
Living historians Joseph McGill, Terry James, and Cheney McKnight will conduct hearth cooking demonstrations and discussions of how enslaved labor was used in this space. More information here. This event is free with donations suggested.

Friday, November 11, 7 p.m.

Blandy Experimental Farm Library, 400 Blandy Farm Lane, Boyce, VA 22620
Please join us for a panel discussion in the Blandy library Friday, November 11th from 7:00-9:00 p.m. Panelists Joseph McGill (Founder and Executive Director; Slave Dwelling Project), Dave Carr (Director; Blandy Experimental Farm), and guests will take part in a conversation about the lives of enslaved people and the visible legacy of slavery on Blandy’s grounds. Free, but registration required. Please register on the Blandy Experimental Farm website.

Saturday, November 12, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Belle Grove Plantation, 336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown, VA 22645
(tentative schedule)
10 a.m. Following the Footprints of Slavery by Joseph McGill, Founder of the Slave Dwelling Project
11 a.m. Shannon Moeck, Park Ranger, Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, Kneading in Silence: A Glimpse into the Life of Enslaved Cook Judah
12 p.m. Lunch break for presenters, Belle Grove Manor House open for touring
1 p.m. Tammy Denease storytelling presentation on Elizabeth Keckley
2 p.m. Presentation by Cheney McKnight, founder of Not Your Momma's History
3 p.m. Presentation by Terry James, Slave Dwelling Project Board Member
4 p.m. Presentation by Kristen Laise, Executive Director of Belle Grove, on the freedom seekers from the plantation. The site is now on the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
5 p.m. Shannon Moeck, Park Ranger, Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, Free at Last: The Complicated Road to Freedom for the Jackson Family

 
Judah
Maj. Isaac Hite, Jr. Commonplace Book

Belle Grove Plantation

Kneading in Silence:
A Glimpse into the Life of the Enslaved Cook Judah

This 30 minute presentation discussing the life of Judah, the enslaved cook of Belle Grove. Purchased by the Hite's with her two young boys, Judah remained their cook until her death in 1836. This program will take place in the winter kitchen of the Belle Grove Manor House.

 
Joseph McGill in period dress reading Jackson's freedom papers
Joseph McGill reading Emmanuel Jackson, Jr.'s Freedom Papers

NPS

Free at Last: The Complicated Road to Freedom for the Jackson Family
Belle Grove Plantation, part of the Inalienable Rights Event
Saturday, November 12

This program explores how initial research showed one enslaved man, Emmanuel Jackson, Jr., from Belle Grove Plantation was purchased by his free black father, Emmanuel Jackson, Sr. from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and ultimately freed four years later. More research uncoved that Emmanuel Sr. purchased many more of his family members. Come learn how the Jackson family was able to maneuver the systems to find life in freedom.

 
Jerome Bias and Cheyney McKinght portraying enslaved cooks at Belle Grove
Jermone Bias and Cheyney McKnight portraying enslaved cooks at Belle Grove Plantation.

NPS

To learn about all ranger led programs and activities, please check out our calendar page.

Last updated: December 29, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 700
Middletown , VA 22645

Phone:

540-869-3051

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