The Tennessee Historical Commission (THC) has announce that historic preservationist Joseph McGill, founder of the Slave Dwelling Project, will visit their offices at the historic Clover Bottom Mansion for a presentation, lecture, and overnight stay on May 22. The event is being held in conjunction with THC’s annual Certificate of Merit awards program, which also takes place that afternoon and is the focus of the agency’s activities for National Preservation Month.
“We are very honored to host Mr. McGill and to combine our annual awards program with this special presentation,” said State Historic Preservation officer and executive director of the Tennessee Historical Commission, Patrick McIntyre. “Since 2010, McGill has traveled the country staying in the former homes of enslaved residents in order to bring attention to the scarcity of these properties and the need to preserve them. This is his first visit to Tennessee for this project.”
McGill will keynote a special lecture entitled ‘Silent Witnesses: Preserving Slave Dwellings’ at 2 pm. Also joining McGill will be Dr. Bobby L. Lovett of Tennessee State University, who will discuss slave life in Nashville and Tennessee.
Author and Wessyngton Plantation slave descendant John Baker will speak on his ongoing work to identify former slaves from this Robertson County plantation, and THC staff member Steve Rogers will speak about Clover Bottom Plantation and John McCline. McCline was born a slave at Clover Bottom and served in the Union Army in the Civil War.
McCline’s posthumously published memoir, Slavery in the Clover Bottoms, provides a rare and important account of slave life in Nashville in the period just prior to and during the Civil War.
The Commission will present the 40th annual Certificate of Merit Awards at 3:30 pm. This program recognizes people and projects from around the state contributing to preserving historic places and/or the history of Tennessee.
McGill’s visit is being funded with grant support from the Tennessee Wars Commission, a part of the Historical Commission. Following Thursday’s events,
McGill will stay overnight in a historic period outbuilding at Clover Bottom. He will then spend Friday night at Alfred’s Cabin at the Hermitage and Saturday evening at Bob Green’s Cabin at Belle Meade Plantation.
The Tennessee Historical Commission is the State Historic Preservation Office. The office is located at 2941 Lebanon Road in Nashville.
For more information about the Tennessee Historical Commission, call 615- 532-1550 or visit their website at