A Visit to Stagville

05 August 2011

The SHC has been collaborating with Historic Stagville, and the final project in my practicum is creating an exhibit on some of the enslaved families. On Monday my research brought me down the stairs to the North Carolina Collection in search of source citations, but on Thursday I decided to break from the books and visit the plantation itself.

The hour-long tour takes visitors to the Bennehan house, the enslaved quarters at Horton Grove, and the great barn, all of which are described briefly here. While the Bennehan home was interesting, Horton Grove impressed me with the tangible reminders of slavery. Along the chimney, you can see actual handprints of the enslaved builders who shaped and stacked the bricks. One brick even bears the faint footprint of a child who must have stepped or fallen upon it before it was quite dry. Hart House, too, retains connections to its enslaved past with the Hart family (one of the families I am researching, in fact). As sharecroppers and blacksmiths after emancipation, the Harts were able to buy the house eventually and resided there as late as the 1950s. There are some living in town today who can say they were born in [formerly] enslaved quarters.

If you'd like to peek into Historic Stagville virtually, head here.

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