The Behind the Big House program moves beyond the “Big Houses,” or stately historic homes, to explore extant slave dwellings and interpret the experiences of the enslaved people who inhabited them. This workshop will include live historical interpretations and lectures to highlight the important contributions African Americans made to Arkansas’s history and provide a broad understanding of the importance of slave dwellings and their role in heritage tourism.

Preserve Arkansas is proud to present Behind the Big House in partnership with the Arkansas Humanities Council, Arkansas State University Heritage Sites, Black History Commission of Arkansas, and Lakeport Plantation. This project is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 For more information about The Slave Dwelling Project, watch the following TedX talk with Joseph McGill –

Registration is closed. Thank you and we will see you on Friday, April 28!

Schedule of Events

Friday, April 28 | 5:30 -7:30 p.m.

Preservation Libations and Programming

  • Libations provided by Preserve Arkansas
  • Joseph McGill will prepare to sleep in the Lakeport service area
  • Jerome Bias will prepare a sampling of foods based on enslaved diets
  • Living history by Voices in the Past

Saturday, April 29 | 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Behind the Big House Program, Lakeport Plantation Dining Room

9:00 a.m.      Introduction

Rachel Silva Patton, Preserve Arkansas

Carla Coleman, Black History Commission of Arkansas

Dr. Blake Wintory, Lakeport Plantation

9:30 a.m.      Uncovering the History of Slavery at the Lakeport Plantation

Dr. Blake Wintory, Lakeport Plantation

10:30 a.m.   Using Pension Records of USCT to Learn about Slavery in Southeast Arkansas

Angela Walton-Raji, Historian and Genealogist, Maryland

12:10 p.m.   Lunch

Pre-ordered box lunches will be delivered. Lunches are $12 and must be ordered before April 14.

12:30 p.m.   Living History Program

“Interview with a Slave” by Voices in the Past

1:30 p.m.      African American Heritage Tourism and the Development of Old Salem’s Foodways Program

Jerome Bias, Stagville State Historic Site, North Carolina

2:30 p.m.      The Slave Dwelling Project, Historic Preservation, and What Arkansas Can Learn from this Project

Joseph McGill, The Slave Dwelling Project

3:15 p.m.      Break

3:30 p.m.      The Challenges and Benefits of African American Heritage Tourism

Dr. Jodi Skipper, University of Mississippi