Sleeping with the Ancestors: How I Followed the Footprints of Slavery

Pre-Order   Ships Jun 06, 2023

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$29.00  $26.97
Hachette Books
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About the Author

Joseph McGill Jr. is the History and Culture Coordinator for Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, South Carolina, and the founder and director of the Slave Dwelling Project. Previously, as a field officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Mr. McGill worked to revitalize the Sweet Auburn commercial district in Atlanta, Georgia, and to develop a management plan for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. He is a former executive director of the African American Museum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and a former director of history and culture at Penn Center, St. Helena Island, South Carolina. McGill has also served as a National Park Service park ranger at Fort Sumter National Monument in Charleston.

Herb Frazier is the special project editor at the Charleston City Paper. He is the author of Behind God's Back: Gullah Memories, co-author of We Are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel with Marjory Wentworth and Dr. Bernard Powers Jr., and co-editor of Ukwell: Searching for Healing and Truth, South Carolina Writers and Poets Explore American Racism, with the late Horace Mungin. Frazier edited and reported for five daily newspapers in the South, including his hometown newspaper, the Post and Courier in Charleston. He has led journalism workshops in Sierra Leone, Zambia, Ghana, Suriname, Guyana, and The Gambia. He was a visiting lecturer at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. Frazier is also the former marketing director at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston.


"Scripture teaches to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly (Micah 6:8). Joe McGill walks the walk, and his hands-on, day-and-night journey inspires--one dwelling at a time. Few have done more than this determined South Carolinian to heal the scars of enslavement and lead us back--all of us--to the generations of ancestors whose unpaid labor shaped America. I feel lucky to have slept on some hard floors, seeing him stir the embers, share the meal, and invite the conversations that we all need to have."--Peter H. Wood, Duke University historian, author of Black Majority and Strange New Land

"In this gripping personal account, Joseph McGill Jr., and Herb Frazier seek to deepen and broaden our understanding of the horrors our African American ancestors endured for generations by chronicling McGill's experiences sleeping in former slave dwellings. I firmly believe that our history must be told and should be understood if we are to avoid repeating our worst mistakes. Sleeping with the Ancestors will further that goal by serving as a tremendous historical reference from which all can learn."

--Congressman James E. Clyburn
"A soul-stirring memoir by a modern-day crusader who confronts our Nation's original sin to save forgotten national historic treasures in tribute to our enslaved ancestors who dwelled in them." --Dr. Edda L. Fields-Black, Carnegie Mellon University historian and author of Combee: Harriet Tubman, the Combahee River Raid, and Black Freedom During the Civil War