Meet the Iowa Architect Documenting Every Slave House Still Standing
Great piece on preservation architect Jobie Hill and the work she’s undertaken to document slave houses, from Atlas Obscura.
The current residents of the historic Mount Zion home in Warren County, Virginia, were rifling through the attic of their garage when they found a yellowed fragment of paper. It was the corner of a larger document, soiled by mold, water, and time. But the snaking cursive writing on it was still legible. It was the bill of sale for an enslaved girl named Chalotte (more likely Charlotte, with the letter “r” long faded away).
The discovery of the bill in the garage was both extraordinary and unsurprising. Because long before the building was a garage, it was the home of enslaved African Americans.
In 2017, the residents shared Charlotte’s bill of sale and one other—denoting an unnamed man who was sold for $650—with Jobie Hill, a preservation architect from Iowa City. Hill had come to Mount Zion to do fieldwork for her project Saving Slave Houses, hoping to document the condition of the Mount Zion garage to see how much of the building’s history has been preserved.
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