By Jackie Hemond in the Suffield Observer on June 30, 2021
In June, I witnessed an amazing dialogue. For two days, the Phelps-Hatheway House hosted two programs, both featuring Joe McGill, a national figure and founder of the Slave Dwelling Project. The hook for the Project is ingenious. McGill sleeps in slave quarters for a night. He has done this at 150 sites in 25 states so far. He does not review how comfortable a slave bed is. The point of his sleepovers is threefold: to preserve former slave dwellings; lift slavery from the footnotes of history; and engage his audience in a thoughtful, non-combative discussion about slavery, racism, race relations and racial equity.
We were engaged! So engaged that both programs ran overtime. The second day was a panel discussion when McGill was flanked by Dennis Culliton, Founder and Executive Director of the Witness Stones Project and Pat Wilson Pheanious, Co-Chair of the Witness Stones Project. Suffield will soon be placing a witness stone for Tamer, an enslaved woman, purchased “as a slave for life” when she was seven by Luther Loomis who lived at the corner of Bridge and Main Streets. Continue reading.