Brownsburg Update: July 22, 2021
More on Slave Descendants and Dwellings
Since 2019, the Brownsburg Museum has collaborated with Historic Lexington Foundation (HLF) on an initiative to document slave dwellings in Rockbridge County as part of an effort to encourage preservation of these structures. Since then, five Brownsburg-area slave dwellings have been visited and documented by representatives of HLF and Virginia Humanities, and the Museum has made arrangements for visits by two descendants of persons enslaved on the McChesney Farm just south of the village. Additionally, three Washington and Lee University students in the Cross-Cultural Documentary Filmmaking course this spring created a 10-minute documentary on Brownsburg’s slave dwellings and descendants entitled “Uncovering Connections.” Interest in this topic continues to grow.
Most recently, Jobie Hill (one of the Virginia Humanities officials who had visited back in 2019) returned to Brownsburg in her capacity as Director of the 2021 Virginia Black Public History Summer Institute. Ms. Hill is a preservation architect whose research and professional work focuses exclusively on domestic slave buildings. She is the founder of the Saving Slave Houses (SSH) project with the primary goal of ensuring that these irreplaceable pieces of history are documented so that they are not lost forever.
The 2021 Virginia Black Public History Summer Institute operates under the auspices of Virginia Humanities in Charlottesville. The program’s Descendants Workshop has five participants who have been able to identify enslaved ancestors, and each participant has been paired with an intern to help with research. The program began in May with weekly virtual meetings on various aspects of genealogical and other research techniques and culminates this month with site visits to the locations associated with each participants’ enslaved ancestors. Workshop participants are from New York, North Carolina, and Washington, DC in addition to Virginia, and their ancestors were enslaved in such well-known places as Berkeley Plantation on the James River in Charles County, and Pharsalia in Nelson County. One of the individuals selected as a participant in the 2021 program is Dr. David Green (whose ancestors were enslaved on the McChesney farm in Brownsburg); Dr. Green first made contact with the Museum last year and was pleased to have an opportunity to show the other Institute participants around the McChesney Farm and the village of Brownsburg.
Paul Hahn made arrangements for Dr. Green, Ms. Hill, and other Institute participants to visit the McChesney Farm last Saturday, July 17. Everyone gathered at the Brownsburg Museum, then drove out to the McChesney Farm just south of the village on Rt. 252. There, a documentary film crew from North Carolina videoed Dr. Green talking about his connection to the McChesney Farm; each program participant is given an opportunity to make a professional quality video of the visit to their ancestral site. After the McChesney Farm visit, Rev. Reginald Early welcomed the group to Asbury United Methodist Church in Brownsburg where they were able to learn a bit about the church’s history. Dr. Green led the group to the Asbury Cemetery where his relative, Maria Redd (1842-1925) is buried. Despite the heat, members of the group were full of enthusiasm, and were able to mingle with representatives of HLF and the Brownsburg Museum at a luncheon hosted by Chris and Julie Fox.
Representatives of the Brownsburg Museum and HLF plan to continue their collaboration in identifying and documenting slave dwellings. Here are a few photos from the site visit.
Out and About
Thank you, Nancy Hahn, for watering the planter at the Museum so faithfully! The geraniums look beautiful and very patriotic!
Brownsburg Update: July 13, 2021
Last week was the first week of produce delivery to the Food Pantry and look what our gardeners dropped off!! There were green beans, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, a beautiful head of cabbage and lots of toiletry items. Thank you everyone! Remember to drop off any extra produce on Amy and Jason Moore’s front porch (2664 Brownsburg Turnpike) by noon each Thursday. Please put your name with your donation so Jim Zimmerman can track participation.
Calendar Photo Deadline
Last call for calendar photos!!! The deadline for submission of photos for the 2022 Brownsburg Calendar is this Friday, July 16. Email your photos to email@example.com.