Feb. 28, Enslaved Tour at Belle Grove

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Title:Feb. 28, Enslaved Tour at Belle Grove

 Enslaved Experience at Belle Grove (full size gallery)

Catherine reserved 10 spots on the tour and there were eight on the tour. This was a Lent experience to understand the slave experience at Belle Grove where James Madison was born in 1751.  

See full slavery article  for additional links on this story. Link to Belle Grove’s history

"After months of research and development, owners Brett and Michelle Darnell opened their Enslaved Experience and History Tour. Not only does the tour discuss the enslaved experience, but it also discusses how the enslaved community changed the way Americans ate with a discussion on foods and cooking techniques brought from Africa during the slave trade years. The tour runs two hours.

"Records were sparse at Belle Grove. However, the Darnells found another source. During the 1930s, slave narratives were collected as part of the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration. At the conclusion of the slave narrative project, a set of edited transcripts was assembled as “Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.” Using three stories, she created a tour that covers experiences and history from the perspective of a former slave.

"When the Darnells bought the home, she went to the Library of Virginia to pull death records for King George. She writes "But the hardest thing to see was the entries of slaves with just a first name. Then the cause of death to be listed as “unknown”. In some cases, the date of the death wasn’t known either. Then the ones who they didn’t know the parents or in case just to know the mother’s first name." "I think this is why this part of history has become so important to me. These people were born here, lived here and died here. Nothing was recorded for most of them. There is no grave marker that say “I was here.” No newspaper announcement. No fanfare. And the only way I know about them is the meager information that was listed."

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