For the fifth year in a row, the Behind the Big House program (BTBH) serves as a welcomed addendum to the yearly Holly Springs Pilgrimage that for 77 years has historically interpreted the lives of plantation-owning families through historic main houses.
In most historic narratives of the antebellum South, the voices of those enslaved were silenced in the telling of their own stories. The BTBH seeks to remedy these omissions through a program that tries to give voice to the enslaved people of our shared but conflicted US history.
BTBH is a distinct program in Mississippi and the nation. It allows visitors to experience firsthand the lives of the enslaved through still-standing former slave dwellings. Through a well-developed interactive program and tour, these once-silenced voices are able to speak loudly via their unique architecture, music, and food.
The complete tour includes 20 slave dwellings with a select number of properties interpreted each year by Joseph McGill of the Slave Dwelling Project, as featured in the 2016 February/March issue of Garden & Gun. The Slave Dwelling Project is a 501©3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to identify and assist property owners, government agencies, and organizations to preserve extant slave dwellings. Their goal is to bring historians, students, faculty, writers, legislators, organizations, corporations, artists, and the general public together to educate, collaborate, and organize resources to save these important collectibles of our American history. You can learn more about The Slave Dwelling Project online at slavedwellingproject.org.
Culinary historian Michael Twitty, who has been selected for a 2016 TED Fellowship, will conduct food demonstrations throughout the tour.
The educational tour is offered free to the public, thanks to grant assistance from the Mississippi Humanities Council, Mississippi Development Authority, Visit Mississippi, and donations from Friends of Behind the Big House Tour.
The Behind the Big House Project is sponsored by Preserve Marshall County & Holly Springs, Inc, which formed in 2005 with the hope of bringing historic preservation advocacy and educational outreach to the community. To schedule a school or group call Chelius H. Carter at 901-336-4090 or visit online at www.preservemarshallcounty.org.