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African American Studies
University of Mississippi

Students’ Slave Dwellings Experience


Mya King, Ezell Mays, Wysh Dantzler, and other students, faculty, and staff at the Slave Dwellings event.

May 8, 2018

Faculty and students at Rowan Oak.

History Professor Anne Twitty (left), Mya King, and Ezell Mays

Ezell Mays, an African American Studies and anthropology major, and African American Studies minors Wysh Dantzler, a psychology major, and Mya King, a political science major, slept overnight in the surviving slave dwelling at Rowan Oak on April 18 as part of the three-day event “Slave Dwellings:  Rediscovering the Enslaved in North Mississippi.”

The students had the unique opportunity to join Joseph McGill and the Slave Dwelling Project for the sleepover. The Slave Dwelling Project brings awareness about the need to preserve the dwellings where African American ancestors lived while enslaved by spending the night in these buildings. The UM Slavery Research Group (UMSRG) co-sponsored the event.

In a day of related events, the UMSRG featured the history of enslaved people in Lafayette County, at the University, and at Rowan Oak with guest talks and a campus tour. The sleepover complemented an archaeological dig at Rowan Oak two years ago, and the Holly Springs-Marshall County Behind the Big House Tour on April 20-22.