Slave Dwelling Project

Friday, May 14 – Saturday, May 15, 2021

Hosted by Dallas Heritage Village, The Slave Dwelling Project is returning to North Texas for the second year, bringing forward the stories of the enslaved African Americans at Millermore & the Gano Farmstead, now located at Dallas Heritage Village. 

Based in South Carolina, The Slave Dwelling Project’s mission is to identify and assist property owners, government agencies and organizations to preserve extant slave dwellings. This is done primarily through public programming, including sleeping overnight in these buildings.

Hosting the Slave Dwelling Project and continuing the project’s mission could not be possible without the collaborative efforts of partners such as Dallas Truth, Racial Healing, & Transformation, Dallas County Justice Initiative, Remembering Black Dallas, Soul Rep Theatre, and the Irving Archives and Museum.

Schedule of Events

Friday, May 14

11am – 2pm : Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center

Join us as we visit Bear Creek with Joe McGill and fellow Slave Dwelling Project interpreters Dontavius Williams & Carolyn Evans.

The Bear Creek community in west Irving is one of the oldest African-American communities in Dallas County. During the late 1850s, a mix of free blacks, whites and their slaves began settling along the upper reaches of Bear Creek. After emancipation, former slaves began moving into the area, which developed into a rural African-American enclave during the era of racial segregation.

The three museums that comprise the Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center tell the history of the Bear Creek community and of the African-American experience from the time of emancipation of the slaves through the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s.

Two homes from the community have been preserved and placed in the park. One has been converted to a museum which tells the story of the Bear Creek community. The other is a house museum reflecting what a home in Bear Creek during the 1920s looked like. The community’s Masonic Lodge, temporarily closed for a maintenance project, contains a museum that tells the story of the African American experience in American history. 

Saturday, May 15

10am – 4pm : Dallas Heritage Village 

Now that I have the attention of the public by sleeping in extant slave dwellings, it is time to wake up and deliver the message that the people who lived in these structures were not a footnote in American history” – Joe McGill, Founder of Slave Dwelling Project

The Slave Dwelling Project is a free event highlighting the importance of preserving slave dwellings through educational programming. Nationally recognized educator and interpreter Joe McGill along with Dontavius Williams and Carolyn Evans will present and reflect on the daily lives of the enslaved both in Texas and across the United States.